President Trump indicated Portland police as incapable of managing protests.
During a military briefing Friday, President Trump indicated he sent federal law enforcement officers to Portland to quell the nightly protests over police violence, and claimed Portland police were incapable of managing the protests themselves.
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in May, hundreds and sometimes thousands of protesters in Portland have taken to the streets nightly, with demonstrations often ending when police use violence to disperse the crowds of mostly nonviolent protesters.
In addition to federal law enforcement officers already based in Portland, the federal government has sent officers from Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit, known as BORTAC, and the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group.
During Friday’s briefing, the protests in Portland were discussed for less than two minutes, before returning to drug enforcement. Wolf claimed there had been violence against officers in Portland. DHS later clarified Wolf was referring to fireworks shot toward officers as well as protesters pointing lasers at federal police. Several protesters in Portland were charged with assault on a federal officer because of those actions.
The protests in Portland are largely centered around the Multnomah County Justice Center and the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse. The two buildings are next to one another in downtown Portland. Some protesters have thrown water bottles and shot fireworks near the buildings. Police and federal law enforcement have responded with indiscriminate use of tear gas, pepper spray and less-lethal impact munitions.
On Friday, Trump was attending a briefing at U.S. Southern Command in Doral, Florida about preventing the flow of drugs into the United States. About halfway through the briefing, Trump turned to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and asked for an update on the protests in Portland.
“We sent you there recently,” Trump said to Wolf. “It was out of control. The locals couldn’t handle it. And you people are handling it very nicely.”
The Portland Police Bureau and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, the city’s police commissioner, declined to comment on the president’s remarks.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in