FACT CHECK: Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed in a presidential campaign speech on Monday that President Donald Trump deployed “secret federal troops” to Portland.
VERDICT: FALSE. President Donald Trump sent federal law enforcement officers from Department of Homeland Security agencies in clearly labeled police uniforms to help federal officers already deployed in Portland, Oregon, to protect federal property.
Joe Biden said that he and former President Barack Obama protected federal property around the country without “whipping up fear,” but that Trump sent “secret federal troops” into riot-torn Portland.
“When President Obama and I were in the White House we had to defend federal property,” Biden said. “We did it … you didn’t see us whipping up fears around the deployment of secret federal troops.”
“We just did our job and the federal property was protected,” Biden said. “When President Obama and I were in office we didn’t look at cities as Democratic or Republican-run. We saw them as American cities.”
“But President Trump doesn’t see himself as president of all of America,” Biden said.
Breitbart News reported on the police sent to Portland by the Trump administration:
Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, hit back at a press conference in DHS headquarters in Washington, DC, on Tuesday against media reports that the Trump administration has sent anonymous, military-style forces into Portland, Oregon, where violent riots have taken place nightly for weeks. Wolf vowed, “we will not retreat.”
“Let me reiterate that the department fully supports those who wish to peacefully protest,” Wolf said. “These individuals are organized with one mission in mind. To burn down or cause extreme damage to the federal courthouse and federal law enforcement officers.”
Wolf and Mark Morgan, chief operating officer and senior official performing the duties of the Commissioner of CBP, also rebuked press and pundit reports that the federal officers were operating without identification. He brought uniforms to show reporters how they boldly state the officer is with police.
“They have insignia on their uniforms that read police, and they have patches that indicate which agency they are from,” Wolf said at the press conference. “These officers are not military. I’ve seen inaccurate press reporting accusing them of being military. They are not military. They are civilian police officers.”
“These police officers are not stormtroopers,” Wolf said. “They are not the Gestapo, as some have described them. That description is offensive, it’s hyperbolic and dishonest. Every law enforcement officer and every reasonable American knows this.”
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