Fired FBI director James Comey on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration’s crackdown on ongoing riots in the Democrat-controlled city of Portland, branding it “the stuff of American nightmares since 1776.”
“With some protesters itching for street confrontations with officers in full tactical gear, federal officials are giving a small group of violent people what they want,” Comey wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post. “[T]hey are giving the citizens of Portland — and the rest of us, no matter our politics — what we don’t want: the specter of unconstrained and anonymous force from a central government authority. It has been the stuff of American nightmares since 1776.”
“Is televised conflict the goal?” Comey then asked.
“What better way for Trump to demonstrate to his followers that he is ‘your president of law and order’ than to deploy highly visible federal officers, and in a way that is sure to invite violent conflict, which, of course, demonstrates the need for a law-and-order president?” he added.
Comey’s remarks come as Trump administration officials have defended sending badgeless federal officers to quash coordinated violence in Portland.
“What we know is before July 4, where we saw an escalation of violence in Portland, before that time, there was violence going, ongoing and DHS had had very few officers in the city,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox & Friends on Monday. “We know that violence before the courthouse, they were directed at the Portland Police Department and other city buildings. So, the facts don’t lie, and the facts are that these violent anarchists and extremists were violent well before DHS surged federal assets into Portland.”
“We are focused on protecting federal facilities. That is our mission, and we’re going to continue to do that,” Wolf then emphasized.
Later Monday, President Donald Trump said that he could send additional federal agents into major cities to help quell violent unrest.
“Look at what’s going on. All run by Democrats. All run by very liberal Democrats. All run really by [the] radical left,” the president said. “We can’t let this happen in the cities.”
Namely, the Department of Homeland Security is readying the deployment of roughly 150 agents to Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.
On Tuesday, Democrat mayors of Atlanta, Chicago, D.C., Seattle, and Kansas City joined Portland in demanding the expulsion of federal agents from their cities.