PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland’s mayor is speaking out after President Donald Trump invoked the city during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention ahead of November’s general election.
In an open letter via email to the president, Mayor Ted Wheeler declined Trump’s most recent offer to send in federal law enforcement agents to Portland to deal with the ongoing protests in downtown and across the city.
“We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery. Portlanders are onto you,” Wheeler wrote. “We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic. And we know you’ve reached the conclusion that images of violence or vandalism are your only ticket to reelection.”
“Make no mistake, if you give power to Joe Biden, the radical left will defund police departments all across America,” he said. “They will pass federal legislation to reduce law enforcement nationwide. They will make every city look like Democrat-run Portland, Oregon. No one will be safe in Biden’s America.”
Federal law enforcement agents attached to different agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshal’s, were initially deployed to Portland earlier this summer after unrest in the city following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, sparked nationwide protests and resulted in property damage in Portland, including the defacing of statues and the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown.
The protests, which had been dwindling in size until then, swelled back up in size with thousands attending as federal agents deployed tear gas and crowd control munitions. Federal officers gradually withdrew by the end of July; however, protesters and federal officers have periodically clashed in August during demonstrations outside of the Portland ICE facility.
On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Billy Williams announced that federal officers arrested 74 people from July 1 onwards, with 72 of those arrests in July alone.