Trump threatens to send National Guard to Portland and calls protesters 'terrorists'

‘Many should be arrested because these are professional agitators, these are professional anarchists, these are people that hate our country’

Justin Vallejo
New York
Friday 31 July 2020 00:21 BST
Barr insists federal agents in Portland are 'not looking for trouble'

Donald Trump has threatened to send the National Guard into Portland if the governor and mayor fail to clear out what he says is a “beehive of terrorists”.

Speaking at a White House press conference, the president said Portland was a disaster filled with professional agitators and anarchists, and that the National Guard would be sent if local officials didn’t get the city under control in the next two days.

“The governor and the mayor, we’ve been dealing with them, and we think they don’t know what they’re doing because this should not have been going on for 60 days,” Mr Trump said. ”It’s not our job to go clean out the cities, it’s supposed to be done by local law enforcement.”

He said that federal police officers would stay in Portland to see how local law enforcement does, and if they don’t wrest control of the city then the federal government will “take care of it”.

“And we’re telling these protestors, and many should be arrested because these are professional agitators, these are professional anarchists, these are people that hate our country,” Mr Trump said.

“They’re working today and probably tomorrow to clean out this beehive of terrorists, and if they do it I’m going to be very happy. And then slowly we’ll be able to leave the city. If they don’t do it we’ll send in the National Guard.”

Protester says federal troops were escalating the violence in Portland

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Chad Wolf and Oregon Governor Kate Brown yesterday announced a joint plan to end the violence directed at federal law enforcement officers.

Under the plan, Oregon State Police will “keep the peace” in downtown Portland while DHS will keep federal agents in the city on standby to protect the Hatfield Federal Courthouse if the violence continues unchecked.

“We will continue to keep law enforcement officers in the area to make sure that that courthouse is secure at the end of the day,” Mr Wolf said in an interview with Fox News.

“Over time, if the Oregon State Police and the plan that has been put in place is successful, and we can responsibly draw down law enforcement assets there, then we will.”

Mr Trump’s threat of sending in the National Guard comes after more than 60 consecutive nights of both protests and riots.

In a statement, Oregon State Police (OSP) said special operation teams and uniformed troopers would begin a two-week rotation within Portland on Thursday.

“OSP hopes to develop an atmosphere that affords the removal of the protective fence and restore a semblance of normalcy, while meeting community expectations and our obligations to protect the federal property,” the statement said.

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