President Trump Says Portland Protest Was “Totally Out of Control,” but the Feds “Very Much Quelled It”

Trump vowed to “take over” cities where violence continues.

Portland police officers outside the federal courthouse on June 19, 2020. (Brian Brose)

Two days after a federal officer shot a Portland protester in the head with a projectile, President Donald Trump decried liberal cities—including Portland—and drew a correlation between calls to defund police and increases in gun violence.

During a Monday morning press conference, Trump justified the deployment of federal officers to Portland, who have patrolled protests since at least July 2, and claimed they had successfully tamped down chaos in the city.

"We've done a great job in Portland," Trump said. "Portland was totally out of control, and they went in, and I guess we have many people right now in jail. We very much quelled it, and if it starts again, we'll quell it again very easily. It's not hard to do, if you know what you're doing."

Trump's claim that federal officers have mitigated violence at Portland protests falls in the wake of a federal agent for the U.S. Marshals Service shooting a protester at close range in the face with a projectile. The protester suffered serious injuries, and underwent facial reconstructive surgery.

During his speech, Trump condemned rising gun violence in liberal cities, which he said was a result of defunding police departments. He vowed to "take over" if such violence continues to rise.

"The radical politicians are waging war on innocent Americans. That's what you're doing when you play with the police," Trump said. "Things are happening that nobody's ever seen happen in cities that are liberally run. I call them radical-lib. And yet they'll go and march on areas and rip everything down in front of them."

In a statement issued Sunday night, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler did not address previous remarks made by Trump taunting Portland officials, nor did he explicitly condemn the violent actions of federal officers.

During a Monday afternoon press conference, Wheeler struck a different tone. He actively condemned the officer who injured the protester, calling the injury "unacceptable.

Wheeler added that he would consider asking federal law enforcement to leave Portland, but acknowledged that he has no authority to actually do so because the federal government has jurisdiction over its properties in Portland.

"I have no problem with the federal government and federal officers inside their facilities protecting their facilities. That's what they do. That's what they always do," Wheeler said. "What I have a problem with is them leaving the facilities and going out onto the streets of this community and then escalating an already tense situation like they did the other night."

This story was updated on 7/13 at 2 pm with new comments from Mayor Ted Wheeler.

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