Portland, OR – Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is blaming President Donald Trump for the ongoing chaos that has been taking place in the city for the past 97 days.
Wheeler and Oregon Governor Kate Brown have spent the last three months doing little more than pointing their fingers at President Trump.
Initially, they claimed that the rioting taking place in downtown Portland would dissipate if the Trump administration would remove federal officers from the area and allow the city’s police force to handle the violent uprisings with the help of the Oregon State Police (OSP).
President Trump has repeatedly threatened to send National Guard troops to Portland if the city couldn’t quell the violent riots that have been happening every night since the death of 46-year-old George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police in May.
OSP troopers took over monitoring the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse building at the beginning of August, KGW reported.
Changing the guard, however, had no effect on stopping the violent riots in front of the federal building.
Then, newly-elected Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced on Aug. 11 that his office wouldn’t be prosecuting the vast majority of arrests that had been made during the riots that have cost local businesses in the tens of millions of dollars.
“Many of the people who have been arrested at these protests for low level offenses come to us with little to no prior criminal history, and we have little to no reason to believe they will re-offend,” Schmidt said in a statement on Aug. 11, according to KATU.
The next day, the state police announced they would be pulling troopers out of Portland, KGW reported.
“The Oregon State Police is continually reassessing our resources and the needs of our partner agencies and at this time we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority,” OSP Captain Timothy Fox said in a statement.
“Last night was our last night in Portland,” Capt. Fox said.
Rioters have repeatedly attacked federal, state, and local law enforcement officers with explosive devices, rocks, ball bearings, golf balls, Molotov cocktails, and other projectiles during the nightly chaos.
They have blocked traffic on countless streets, looted and torched businesses, destroyed historic landmarks, and repeatedly attempted to burn down police precincts, the federal courthouse, and the Police Protective Association building, among others.
Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of law enforcement and President Trump, was shot in the chest by a rioter on Aug. 29 and left to die in the street.
Antifa celebrated his murder, cell phone videos showed.
The shooting suspect, Michael Forest Reinoehl, is self-proclaimed antifa, according to The Oregonian.
“The person who died was a Patriot Prayer person,” a member of the riotous mob told the crowd. “He was a f–king Nazi! Our community held its own and took out the trash!”
Patriot Prayer is a local right-wing group which has held Christian pro-Trump rallies in the Portland area. Their rallies have attracted antifa who show up to disrupt the events.
Another Trump 2020 flag burns. pic.twitter.com/2E6x0g97c5
— Defund PPB 🏁🐍 (@MacSmiff) August 30, 2020
Many of the events have ended in rioting after the antifa turn violent.
Wheeler and Brown have repeatedly turned down President Trump’s offers to send federal officers to Portland to help local and state law enforcement.
Wheeler boasted about turning down the President’s latest offer in a letter on Friday afternoon.
Dumpster Fire! pic.twitter.com/zJxOuYIm0b
— Defund PPB 🏁🐍 (@MacSmiff) August 29, 2020
“Today, I sent this open letter via email to President Trump declining his recurring offer to aid Portland by sending federal enforcement to our city,” Wheeler wrote in a Facebook post. “He needs to know that here in Portland, we are focused on coming together as a community to solve the serious challenges we face due to systemic racism, a global pandemic and an economic recession.”
In the letter, Wheeler bragged that President Trump had tried to aid Portland “yet again,” but that he’d refused his help.
“On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks,” the mayor wrote. “We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery. Portlanders are onto you. We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic.”
“He’s a Nazi!”
Antifa mob assault a man who tried to stop them from breaking inside the petrol station in downtown Portland. They randomly call him a Nazi to incite the mob to violence. #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/gbjxsqYvkK
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 30, 2020
Wheeler alleged that the President has been spreading “images of violence” because they are his “only ticket to reelection.”
Wheeler said in his letter that “those who commit criminal acts will be apprehended and prosecuted under the law, directly conflicting with Schmidt’s announcement that his office won’t be prosecuting a vast majority of the arrests that have been made during the past 97 days of rioting.
“When you sent the Feds to Portland last month, you made the situation far worse,” Wheeler told President Trump in the open letter. “Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city…Stay away, please.”
Arrest underway at the corner of NE 47th Ave & E Burnside. #koin6news #PDX #PNW #Oregon #blm #protest #Portland pic.twitter.com/buzndQsk9x
— Jennifer Dowling (@JenDowlingKoin6) August 31, 2020
But if the mayor thought his message to the President would appease the riotous mobs, he was mistaken.
Protesters gathered outside his apartment building just hours later, locking arms and demanding to be let inside, video footage showed.
PORTLAND: You do realize protesters are occupying mayor @tedwheeler’s apartment complex
And won’t leave until he abolishes the police completely, right?
This is the stuff the corporate media intentionally ignores
We are in a radical revolution
— ELIJAH RIOT (@ElijahSchaffer) August 29, 2020
A protester tries to get into Mayor Ted Wheeler's apartment building where three activists have locked arms. "I got white people shit to do in there!!" pic.twitter.com/2UumWkDOM7
— Alex Milan Tracy (@AlexMilanTracy) August 29, 2020
“I got white people s–t to do in there!” one man yelled through the closed glass doors. “Ted Wheeler lives in your building…on the 11th floor. Go to 1131 and tell that person, until they leave, we’ll be here every week, okay?”
The group then proceeded to hold a loud rock concert out on the street, including an “antifa mosh pit,” according to reporter Andy Ngo.
There’s an antifa mosh pit outside @tedwheeler’s condo now. In addition to loud music, they’re flashing lights into his building. #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/rFnuyOKNUK
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 29, 2020
The crowd going crazy! pic.twitter.com/HO0rFs4ZXY
— Defund PPB 🏁🐍 (@MacSmiff) August 29, 2020
In late July, as the city was experiencing the deadliest month in 30 years, Wheeler toyed with the idea of ordering the PPB to hand the city over to the violent mob.
Wheeler texted one of his top aides, Sonia Schmanski, about his plan to have the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) stand down in late July, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
He acknowledged that the move would be “high risk,” but claimed the city had “nothing to lose” by trying it anyway, according to the news outlet.
Someone managed to convince the mayor that handing the city over to a violent mob might not be the best course of action, especially after the rioters began moving into residential neighborhoods.
“I was persuaded that a complete withdrawal, even for one evening to test the ability to completely deescalate the situation, would be a risk that was too great,” Wheeler told Oregon Public Broadcasting in a recent interview. “We could not risk the people who were in the immediate vicinity.”
But that isn’t to say he wouldn’t consider following through with his idea in the future.
“We’re all considering all options,” Wheeler continued. “The core objective here is to create a free and safe space to those people who want to express their First Amendment rights and to compartmentalize and deescalate the violence as much as possible and where it’s safe to do so arrest people and hold them accountable.”
“That’s the formula,” he added at the time, without providing any clear plan of action moving forward.
President Trump spoke out about Wheeler’s inability to shut down the rioters in a series of tweets on Sunday afternoon.
“Ted Wheeler, the wacky Radical Left Do Nothing Democrat Mayor of Portland, who has watched great death and destruction of his City during his tenure, thinks this lawless situation should go on forever. Wrong! Portland will never recover with a fool for a Mayor….” Trump wrote.
He noted that Wheeler “tried mixing with the Agitators and Anarchists,” but that he was only met with ridicule.
“He would like to blame me and the Federal Government for going in, but he hasn’t seen anything yet,” the President continued. “We have only bee there with a small group to defend our U.S. Courthouse, because he couldn’t do it….”
President Trump said that the residents of Portland and other cities throughout the U.S. “want Law & Order.”
“The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland…will never be able to do it!” the President declared.
He called Wheeler “weak and pathetic” in another tweet, and later likened him to presidential hopeful Joe Biden, USA Today reported.
“Wheeler is incompetent, much like Sleepy Joe Biden,” President Trump wrote. “This is not what our great Country wants. They want Safety & Security, and do NOT want to Defund our Police!”
Wheeler argued that he is doing all he can to curb the violence, and said that President Trump should either support him or “stay the hell out of the way,” USA Today reported.
He also blasted the President for referring to the hundreds of pro-Trump demonstrators who caravanned from Clackamas to Portland on Saturday as “GREAT PATRIOTS!” according to The Guardian.
“Mr. President, how can you think that a comment like that…is in any way helpful?” Wheeler asked. “It’s an aggressive stance, it is not collaborative. I certainly reached out…by saying earlier that you need to do your part and I need to do my part and then we both need to be held accountable.”
On Monday, Trump tweeted that he will send in federal officers if Wheeler doesn’t get the situation under control quickly.
“Portland is a mess, and it has been for many years,” he tweeted, according to the Associated Press. “If this joke of a mayor doesn’t clean it up, we will go in and do it for them!”
Brown said on Sunday that Trump is the one to blame for Danielson’s murder.
“[He] has encouraged division and stoked violence,” the governor alleged, according to CNN. “It happened in Kenosha. And now, unfortunately, it is happening in Portland, Oregon.”
She said that President Trump must not be reelected.
“Despite the President’s jeers and tweets, this is a matter of life and death,” Brown declared. “Whether it’s his completely incompetent response to the pandemic, where nearly 200,000 have died, or his outright encouragement of violence in our streets: it should be clear to everyone by now that no one is truly safe with Donald Trump as President.”
“What America needs is for [Trump] to be stopped,” Wheeler chimed in, according to The Guardian.
Brown further alleged that Patriot Prayer was responsible for causing problems in downtown Portland, not the rioters who have been burning and looting the city for over three months.
“The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight,” Brown said in a statement after Danielson’s murder, according to USA Today. “Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.”
Wheeler referred to Danielson’s murder as a “potential flashpoint,” and warned those seeking “retribution” to “stay away” from the city, USA Today reported.
“This is not the time to get hotheaded because you read something on Twitter that some guy made up in his mother’s basement,” the mayor said.
He again accused President Trump of causing the chaos that has taken over the city.
“You’ve tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history,” Wheeler complained, according to The Sun. “And now you want me to stop the violence that you helped create.”
Brown announced on Sunday that OSP would be returning to Portland to assist local police with quelling the violence, USA Today reported.
She also called on the Gresham Police Department, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to come help handle the city’s problems.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney will kick in additional resources, USA Today reported.
“Change will not come overnight, and, as we have seen in these last months, it does not come easily either,” Brown said. “But we are building a more just future.”
Meanwhile, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Chief Chuck Lovell begged citizens who want to come to the downtown area to do so without carrying firearms, USA Today reported.
OSP assisted PPB during the riots on Sunday night, during which 29 people were arrested, according to the Associated Press.
Two of the suspects were carrying loaded firearms when they were taken into custody, the PPB said in a press release.
At least one had an expandable baton, and others were carrying knives, police said.