Trump official says federal troops may be deployed to other Democrat-run cities this week

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says federal troops are president's "stormtroopers"

Graig Graziosi
Monday 20 July 2020 17:41 BST
Federal officers are filmed hitting a Portland protester with batons and spraying him with pepper spray

A White House official said the Trump administration is planning to send federal troops into several Democrat-run cities, mirroring the recent controversial deployment in Portland.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows suggested more federal incursions were on the way during an interview Sunday on Fox News.

"You'll see something rolled out this week, as we start to go in and make sure that the communities — whether it's Chicago or Portland or Milwaukee or someplace across the heartland — we need to make sure their communities are safe," Mr Meadows said.

Chicago, Portland and Milwaukee are all run by Democrats.

Donald Trump was less subtle about his intentions; during his own interview Sunday on Fox News, Mr Trump said that he was sending government troops in to stop "violence" in the "Democrat-run cities."

Federal troops have already been deployed in Portland, where they've been skirmishing with protesters in increasingly violent incidents.

A video widely shared over the weekend showed a largely-unidentified federal officer whisking a man who appeared to be a protester off the street and into an unmarked van filled with other federal officers.

In another video, a federal officer attacks a peaceful protester with a baton. Though the protester — a US Navy veteran — appears to shrug off the attack, it was later revealed that the federal officer broke the veteran's hand.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to the federal troops as "stormtroopers."

The presence of the federal officers appears to have reignited the protests in Portland. Over the weekend, activists lit a police union office on fire and clashed with federal officers.

The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, has demanded that the government remove the troops from his city.

"Their presence is neither wanted nor is it helpful and we're asking them to leave," he said. "In fact, we're demanding that they leave."

According to the Washington Post, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the DHS troops "don't have any plans to do that."

"When the violence recedes, then that is when we would look at that," Mr Cucinelli said. "This isn't intended to be a permanent arrangement, but it will last as long as the violence demands additional support to contend with."

Mr Cucinelli said the DHS wouldn't name the officers deployed into the cities over fear that they or their families would be harassed by protesters, but said the officers would wear badges with ID numbers that could be traced to them in the event of a complaint.

Mr Trump said the cities where he planned to deploy federal troops were "liberally run, they are stupidly run."

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