Press: Trump declares war – on America!
Give credit where credit is due. At least, Donald Trump’s kept one campaign promise. Running for president in 2016, he vowed he’d never launch a new foreign war. And he hasn’t. Not against Iran, North Korea or Venezuela. He’s launched a war against America’s cities, instead.
Yes, America is under attack, coast to coast. Not by foreign enemies. Not by terrorists. America’s under siege by goon squads of unauthorized and unneeded federal forces unleashed by President Donald Trump on America’s cities.
It started in Portland, Ore., where nightly protests against systemic racism in police departments, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, had grown smaller and more peaceful. Violence had practically disappeared. Until early July, when – uninvited by the mayor, governor, or Portland police – federal thugs suddenly arrived on the scene and violence flared up again. Nobody summed it up better than the New York Times headline: “Sent to Quell Unrest in Portland, Federal Agents Fan the Flames.”
Who are these federal agents? Not the military. When Defense Secretary Mark Esper refused to allow Donald Trump to sic American soldiers on American civilians, Trump turned to “Acting” Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who willingly sent in agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Border Patrol, Federal Protective Service and U.S. Marshals Service – none of whom have any training in riot control or handling mass demonstrations – and none of whom have any business storming city streets unless local police request their help.
Trump insists Department of Homeland Security (DHS) forces are there to end the violence – which, again, by the time they arrived, no longer existed. Instead, they reignited violence by adopting tactics of Nazi Storm Troopers: wearing military-like camouflage uniforms with no identification or name tags, deploying tear gas, even against the mayor, firing projectiles from paintball guns, beating members of the “Wall of Moms” and other peaceful protestors with clubs, and kidnapping protestors and throwing them in unmarked vans without telling them what they’d been charged with or where they were being taken.
And it doesn’t stop there. As part of what he’s dubbed “Operation Legend,” Trump’s announced plans to send hundreds more agents to Kansas City, Chicago, Albuquerque, New York, and other cities – none of which have requested federal assistance and all of which have actually seen a decrease in violent crime during the pandemic.
Of course, there’s no doubt why Trump’s doing this. It has nothing to do with national security. It has everything to do with politics 2020. Less than 100 days out from Nov. 3, Trump knows he’ll lose if this election’s a referendum on his failed leadership on the coronavirus pandemic, so he’s desperately trying to change the subject in order to run as the “law and order” candidate.
It’s all so transparent. Trump falsely accuses Joe Biden of wanting to defund police. He falsely accuses Democrats of being soft on crime. He falsely declares American cities (those with Democratic mayors) of being on fire. And where things are calm, he sends in federal agents to create their own violence – so Trump can then take credit for stopping it. Meanwhile, his reelection campaign’s already running TV ads painting Trump as Mr. “Law and Order.” Again, anything to detract voters from thinking about 150,000 Americans who’ve died so far from the coronavirus on Mr. Trump’s watch.
But here’s the greatest outrage. As Republican Tom Ridge, the first secretary of DHS, reminded us this week, the department was created in the wake of Sept. 11 to protect America from global terrorism. Yet Donald Trump has converted its officers into his “personal militia” and unleashed it against American citizens. And Republican leaders of Congress say nothing. Shame!
Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”
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