Washington — Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf cast blame on local leaders in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday after one person was shot and killed after clashes between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matters protesters, saying the officials there allow an environment of “lawlessness and chaos.”
“We’ve been asking Portland to do their job really for over three months now,” Wolf said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “What you see in Portland is an environment, they foster an environment of this lawlessness and chaos.”
Wolf reiterated that the Trump administration has been urging Oregon Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to send members of the National Guard to the city to address the violence there. Protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have been occurring nightly in Portland for more than three months.
“We need them to do their job. We need them to step up, and if they can’t or they don’t have the ability or the resources, ask the federal government,” Wolf said. “We’ll provide those resources as we’ve done in Wisconsin and others so that we can address any violence across the spectrum.”
The acting Homeland Security secretary said city and state officials in Oregon “have failed to protect their communities.” He said that in Portland alone, there have been more than 90 arrests, and the FBI is pursuing 74 criminal citations against individuals.
“It’s time to end the lawlessness and the chaos that we see in Portland,” he said.
A caravan of vehicles filled with supporters of Mr. Trump traveled through downtown Portland on Saturday and were confronted by counter-protesters. On some occasions, the pro-Trump demonstrators fired paintball pellets at their opponents, while the Black Lives Matter protesters hurled objects at the caravan.
One man was shot during an altercation about 15 minutes after the caravan left the downtown area Saturday night, police and witnesses said. The man was pronounced dead on the scene. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the deadly altercation was related to the earlier clashes between the caravan and counter-protesters.
Mr. Trump often cites the ongoing protests in Portland as a cautionary tale to voters for what the country would look like if Joe Biden were elected president in November. During last week’s Republican National Convention, the president and many other speakers urged “law and order” and said only Mr. Trump can bring peace to the streets of U.S. cities.
On Sunday morning, the president reiterated that “the National Guard is ready, willing and able” to assist law enforcement in Portland.