President Donald Trump today blasted Portland's mayor over his orders to police not to intervene in a protest blockade of a federal immigration building.
In remarks at the White House, Trump criticized Mayor Ted Wheeler's decision to ask police to not involve themselves in the weeks of protests at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices.
"Last month, the mayor of Portland, Oregon shamefully ordered local police to stand down, leaving federal law enforcement officers to face an angry mob of violent people," Trump said in a speech today honoring border police, according to the White House transcript.
Trump did not call out Wheeler by name.
As WW first reported this month, ICE agents sent a cease-and-desist letter to Wheeler claiming that they repeatedly called 911 for help in the early days of the "Occupy ICE" protest, only to be told that police officers had been instructed not intervene.
Related: Portland police refused to respond when ICE agents called 911 during protest, letter says.
Wheeler's office denies that any policy ever existed barring officers from responding. Instead, he says he told police to stay out of federal business unless public safety was at stake.
Documents obtained by WW—including emails from a police commander—show that ICE employees did call local law enforcement, but were told that police would only respond if someone was in imminent danger. Police Chief Danielle Outlaw says that decision was standard procedure with low police staffing. Outlaw has also claimed responsibility for making the decision to sweep out the Occupy ICE encampment on July 25.
Wheeler has also been admonished for his handling of the ICE protest by the president of the Portland police union.
But in a city where Trump is deeply unpopular, a tongue-lashing from the president might boost the mayor's public standing, even as criticism of police tactics intensifies.
Related: Police use of flash grenades injures two protesters during dueling demonstrations.