In the wake of yet another night of violence in Portland — including a man, apparently a conservative activist, who was shot in the chest and left to die in the street Saturday night — politicians at the local, state and federal levels have been quick to blame each other.
Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, made it clear who he believes is at fault in a press conference Sunday with Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell and District Attorney Mike Schmidt.
“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?” Wheeler said. “It’s you who have created the hate and the division.”
Others have taken President Donald Trump to task for his incendiary remarks — often delivered on Twitter — and bombastic nature, which they claim seem to reflect his desire to stir up division and even violence, including his Democratic opponent in the November election, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“What does President Trump think will happen when he continues to insist on fanning the flames of hate and division in our society and using the politics of fear to whip up his supporters?” Biden asked. “He is recklessly encouraging violence. He may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong — but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is.”
True to form, President Trump responded on his favorite platform, calling Wheeler “weak and pathetic.” The president also praised the thousands of his supporters who had paraded through Portland earlier that day flying flags and Trump banners — calling them “great patriots.”
“Portland is a mess, and it has been for many years,” the president tweeted on Monday. “If this joke of a mayor doesn’t clean it up, we will go in and do it for them!”
This is far from the first time Trump and his administration have clashed with Portland officials and Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
Tensions arose last month over the presence of a beefed-up contingent of 100 federal officers, who were eventually removed from Portland amid claims that they abused the use of force and detained suspects in violation of their constitutional rights.
Brown posted a lengthy statement Sunday blasting Trump, saying he has “encouraged division and stoked violence.”
“It happened in Charlottesville,” she said. “It happened in Kenosha. And now, unfortunately, it is happening in Portland, Oregon.
“But despite the President’s jeers and tweets, this is a matter of life and death. Whether it’s his completely incompetent response to the pandemic, where nearly 200,000 have died, or his outright encouragement of violence in our streets: it should be clear to everyone by now that no one is truly safe with Donald Trump as President.”