“If the incompetent Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, doesn’t get control of his city and stop the Anarchists, Agitators, Rioters and Looters, causing great danger to innocent people, we will go in and take care of matters the way they should have been taken care of 100 days ago!” Trump tweeted on Friday.
The US president’s broadside at Wheeler comes hours after the Democratic mayor penned a scathing open letter to Trump, refusing any federal assistance in quelling the unrest that has beset Portland for over three months while accusing Trump of stirring “division” with his “demagoguery.”
Wheeler argued that Oregon state troopers sent to the city to protect a federal courthouse, which was for weeks besieged by protesters, had only made “the situation far worse” then it was before.While the troopers withdrew from the city earlier this month after their commitment ended – and amid growing frustrations over the local district attorney’s refusal to prosecute many of those arrested during the unrest – the violence has hardly subsided.
Last Sunday, Black Lives Matter activists attempted to torch a police station while they were heard chanting “Burn baby, burn!” at the outer wall of the precinct in video footage that circulated online.
Despite the spate of violence showing no signs of abating, Wheeler vehemently rejected Trump’s more recent offers to send in federal assistance to the city.
“Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city,” he charged.
Trump’s threat to take over Portland in spite of Wheeler’s objections could suggest he plans to invoke the Insurrection Act, a 19th century law that allows the federal government to forego the approval of state authorities and send in troops to restore order when it’s impossible to enforce US law, or when citizens’ rights are endangered.
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