Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, sent a letter Monday to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, suggesting the Democrat accept federal help in suppressing the violence that has plagued his city for months.
“I urge you to prioritize public safety and to request federal assistance to restore law and order in Portland,” Wolf wrote in the letter. “We are standing by to support Portland. At the same time, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that there will come a point when state and local officials fail to protect its citizens from violence, the federal government will have no choice but to protect our American citizens.”
Wolf was responding to the letter sent by Wheeler to President Donald Trump late last week, refusing federal assistance to stop the riots.
“We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery. Portlanders are on to you. We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic. And we know you’ve reached the conclusion that images of violence and vandalism are your only ticket to reelection,” Wheeler wrote in that letter.
Wheeler also claimed in his letter that Trump sending federal agents into Portland in July “made the situation far worse.”
“Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city,” Wheeler added.
Wolf snapped back at Wheeler for saying in his letter that there “is no place for looting, arson, or vandalism in our city.”
“Unfortunately, you have failed to back up that sentiment with any action. In fact, your inaction has fostered an environment that has fueled senseless violence and destruction night after night. For more than three months, Portland has become the epicenter of crime and chaos, with rioters attacking government buildings with the intention of burning them to the ground. As of today, since July 31, 2020, there have been 255 arrests made by local law enforcement and 23 riots and unlawful assemblies declared. Despite this, you have stood by passively, arguing that the nightly violence “will ultimately burn itself out.” The evidence demonstrates otherwise,” Wolf wrote.
“Due to a lack of action throughout the summer, Portland and its law-abiding residents continue to suffer from large-scale looting, arson, and vandalism—even killing. Businesses remain shuttered and Portlanders are held hostage by the daily violence that has gripped the city with no end in sight. This is precisely why President Trump has—and continues to—offer federal law enforcement assistance to Portland. And that is why I, in my capacity as the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, was not only authorized, but statutorily obligated, to protect federal property and persons on that property,” Wolf continued.
Wolf also implored Wheeler to honor his commitment to apprehend and prosecute anyone who commits a crime, even though the Multnomah County district attorney said he wouldn’t prosecute anyone arrested for interfering with police officers, rioting, trespassing, second-degree disorderly conducting, escaping, or violating city ordinances.
“In short, ignoring criminal behavior is no way to protect the citizens of your community, the same citizens who entrusted you to hold elected office. We hope and expect that fairness and good judgment will prevail in Portland,” Wolf wrote.
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