Merkley: Trump Has Now Brought ‘Secret Police’ Authoritarian Tactics to the Streets of Our Country

Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Deadline,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said President Donald Trump ordering the use of federal police officers in Portland, OR, and threatening to do the same in other cities to quell the ongoing protests is “an authoritarian president out of control.”

Merkley said, “We have an authoritarian president out of control. He’s long admired the tactics of Putin and Duterte and Erdoğan and other strongmen around the world, and now he has brought their secret police tactics to the streets of our country. ”

He continued, “I was thinking at a recent protest that involved a march from Capitol Hill up to the L’Enfant Plaza can across from the White House. People were chanting, which is what democracy looks like, and they were referring to the peaceful protest of citizens expressing their feelings before the most powerful place in the world, the White House. And I thought it’s not quite what democracy looks like because the president had shut down L’Enfant Plaza, so the protesters were way out of sight of the White House. And it was shortly after that that he put unmarked police on the steps of the Lincoln Monument. I thought that’s not what democracy looks like. And then he proceeded to have his team use flashbangs and impact munitions and tear gas to clear people, peacefully protesting, so he could stand on the steps of the church with a Bible. ”

He added, “Each time I thought, this won’t continue. The reaction will be so fierce. And then he sends his team to Portland, unmarked folks in war uniforms, camouflage, patrolling the streets grabbing protesters at random, throwing them into unmarked vans, sweeping them away, not telling them who they are, not having reasonable cause for stopping them in the first place. And then we see, for example, a man in white sweatshirt saying, I’m a navy veteran, and two officers are beating him with batons while another one proceed to pepper spray his face. And he’s just standing there. And I’m thinking, peaceful protesters, American veteran, wanted to come down and say, ‘Are you honoring your oath to the Constitution? And they’re beating the hell out of him. And we have another protester who is holding a radio above his head, and you can see in the video, he’s just standing there across the street from Trump’s deployed forces and he’s shot square between the eyes, right in the forehead with an impact munition, put him in critical condition in the hospital, with a fractured skull. And I thought, well, that’s not what democracy looks like. This is secret policing brought to America. It’s why I introduced the no secret police in America act within the last 48 hours, over 40 senators have signed on to it. We have to respond. And we need to enable this type of bill to be debated and voted on, on the floor of the U.S. Senate. ”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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