Former President George W. Bush never had many supporters in Portland, which makes a Facebook comment U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenuer (D-Ore.) posted this week sting even more.
In response to a WW article about the Oct. 28 acquittal of Ammon Bundy and six followers in U.S. District Court, Blumenauer responded to a line in the story which said that U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams had commended his three trial prosecutors on a "job well done."
“Sounds a lot like, “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job” to me,” Blumenauer wrote on Nov. 2.
Blumenauer’s reference is to Michael Brown, a Bush administration official who served as director as the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.
In the wake of the storm, which killed 2,000 people and caused $100 billion in damage, FEMA was widely seen to have botched its response. Nonetheless, Bush complimented Brown amid the chaos.
“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” Bush said, while touring the storm-ravaged city. He would fire Brown 10 days later.
In an interview on Friday, Blumenauer elaborated on his Facebook comment. The 10-term congressman said he found both the not-guilty verdict and Williams’ reaction to it upsetting.
“There’s a troubling attitude in the U. S. Attorney’s Office, which used to be such an anchor for the the community,” says Blumenauer, who held held public office in Portland since 1973 and served in Congress since 1996. “It continues sort of a pattern that’s hard to comprehend.”
Blumenauer cited an earlier case in which Williams’ office charged a 19-year-old Native American man, Devontre Thomas, with possession of a minuscule amount of marijuana.
“I was appalled this summer that the U.S. Attorney would wreck a native American teenager’s life for something that’s been a misdemeanor in this state since 1973,” Blumenauer says.
The congressman says that last week, he felt a sense of outrage that Bundy and his followers were found not guilty after their 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge but also at what he saw as a lack of accountability in Williams’ remarks.
“More than the result of the trial, it’s just the kind of attitude in that office,” Blumenauer says. “Mr. Williams seemed to accept it as a sort of routine result.”
Williams’ spokesman, Kevin Sonoff, declined to comment.