Portland mayor excoriates Trump as one killed during protest clash

Author
CNN,
Publish Date
Mon, 31 Aug 2020, 2:04PM
Fires were lit during protests Friday night in Portland. (Photo / Getty)
Fires were lit during protests Friday night in Portland. (Photo / Getty)

Portland mayor excoriates Trump as one killed during protest clash

Author
CNN,
Publish Date
Mon, 31 Aug 2020, 2:04PM

The Democratic mayor of Portland, Oregon, said Sunday it is President Donald Trump who "created the hate" in an unyielding attack on the White House following a shooting at a protest that left one person dead.

Speaking at a news conference, Mayor Ted Wheeler asked, "Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?"

"It's you who have created the hate and the division. It's you who have not found a way to say the names of Black people killed by police officers even as people in law enforcement have. And it's you who claimed that White supremacists are good people," he continued. "Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything you've done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country."

His forceful comments come one day after a person was shot and killed in downtown Portland after an evening of violent clashes between Trump supporters and protesters denouncing police brutality.

For more than 90 consecutive nights, protesters in Portland have gathered against police brutality and racial injustice. The protests were spurred by the killing of George Floyd in May and gained steam after last weekend's police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

The man who was killed in Portland on Saturday night was wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group based in Portland that has clashed with protesters in the past, said New York Times reporter Mike Baker.

Earlier Saturday night, police tweeted that there had been "some instances of violence between demonstrators and counterdemonstrators" when a political rally caravanned through downtown Portland.

The tweet said officers made some arrests and asked people to avoid downtown due to traffic from the political rally.

The traffic coincided with a planned "Trump 2020 Cruise Rally in Portland" that was advertised on Facebook.

According to the posted event, participants planned to gather at the Clackamas Town Center in Clackamas, Oregon, about 17 miles southeast of Portland. They planned to line up the cars, motorcycles and trucks for the rally and travel the "Trump 2020 cruise rally route." An image posted on Facebook shows it appeared to include the downtown Portland area.

On Saturday afternoon, a large group of Trump supporters and cars gathered at the Clackamas Town Center, CNN affiliate KOIN reported. Video footage from KOIN showed pickup trucks with American flags, "Thin Blue Line" flags and Trump 2020 flags prominently displayed on the vehicles.

Portland police tried to keep the caravan out of the downtown area, Police Chief Chuck Lovell said at press conference Sunday, but a group of the vehicles were able to "come into the downtown core."

Later in the evening, Baker posted footage from downtown Portland. In at least one video, protesters standing on a street corner screamed and tossed items at people in a stopped white pickup truck with an American flag and the words "All Live Matter" written on a back driver's side window. The truck appears to be part of the Trump cruise rally. One of the protesters is seen lighting a Trump flag on fire as the caravan begins to drive off.

A man riding in the bed of a passing black pickup truck displaying a blue "Oregon for Trump" flag and an American flag can be seen pointing and firing a paintball gun at the protesters standing on the corner.

Riders in the black truck can be seen releasing some form of spray.

And as a green pickup truck passes, someone riding in its bed can be seen spraying something toward protesters. Passengers in that green truck duck as the other protesters toss something at them.

Other videos posted by the New York Times reporter showed fights breaking out between the pro-Trump supporters and the protesters.

 

Addressing Trump personally, Wheeler lamented that "for four years we've had to live with you and your racist attacks on Black people."

"We learned early about your sexist attitudes toward women. We've had to endure clips of you mocking a disabled man. We've had to listen to your anti-democratic attacks on journalists. We've read your tweets slamming private citizens to the point of receiving death threats, and we've listened to your attacks on immigrants," he said.

"We've listened to you label Mexicans 'rapists.' We've heard you say that John McCain wasn't a hero because he was a prisoner of war. And now, you're attacking Democratic mayors and the very institutions of Democracy that have served this nation well since its founding."

Wheeler's message provoked a string of tweets from the President Sunday afternoon, who denounced the mayor as "wacky."

"Portland will never recover with a fool for a Mayor," Trump said. "He tried mixing with the Agitators and Anarchists and they mocked him. He would like to blame me and the Federal Government for going in, but he hasn't seen anything yet. We have only been there with a small group to defend our U.S. Courthouse, because he couldn't do it."

Leaning on his campaign mantle, Trump added, "The people of Portland, like all other cities & parts of our great Country, want Law & Order."

The tweets marked an immediate rebuke of Wheeler's news conference plea to the President to let him, as mayor, handle the unrest.

"President Trump, you bring no peace. You bring no respect to our Democracy. You, Mr. President, need to do your job as the leader of this nation and I, Mr. President, will do my job as the mayor of this city," he said.

"And we will both be held accountable, as we should."

 

text by Paul LeBlanc, CNN