Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday addressed violent protesters in Portland, OR, setting up an “autonomous zone” and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler refusing federal help to clear up the scene.
Although Wheeler does not want help, which he claims is out of fear of violence from law enforcement, Wolf said on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom” that the violent individuals targeting federal courthouses will not be allowed to “stand.” He also urged local leaders to speak out against the “violent anarchists.”
“I want to be very clear … we see peaceful protest they are in Portland. DHS and Homeland Security has no problem. That’s their first amendment right. We are talking about a different group of individuals that have become violent and that are targeting federal courthouses, and we’re not going to let that stand,” Wolf emphasized. “What I saw yesterday was a DHS force — we have about a hundred or so federal officers there to make sure that we support that courthouse, defend that courthouse. They are motivated, morale was high, and they’re going to continue to do their job day after day. Portland police, they want to be a partner, they want to protect their community. Again, I think the concern I have for the local and state leadership — they are fostering an environment where it’s very difficult for law enforcement to do their job and they are, in my opinion, coming out strong enough condemning the violent activity there in Portland.”
“We have these violent protesters coming in, targeting the courthouse, targeting the federal park, targeting other federal buildings,” he added. “And, again, our law enforcement officers are going to respond in kind. They have been judicious in that. They are getting attacked night after night after night. Here’s my concern either with local, state or even U.S. Senators: They are more concerned about individuals, violent criminals in those crowds getting hurt, then they are my law enforcement officers. They don’t talk about individuals that are getting hit in the head with a sledgehammer — law enforcement officers. So, I wished they would be more concerned about law enforcement than they are about the violent criminals that are, again, targeting that courthouse, targeting other federal facilities there.”
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent