White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany used Friday’s press briefing to air footage of violent protests in Portland, Oregon, in recent days — countering Democrats’ claims that the demonstrations have been “peaceful protests.”
Federal law enforcement officers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been deployed to Portland to protect the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, which has been targeted by violent Black Lives Matter demonstrators. The rioters have vandalized the building and attempted to set it on fire.
Democrats have objected to the presence of the DHS officers, whom they refer to as “secret police.” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed solidarity with the demonstrators on Thursday, saying that they represented “the best of our democratic ideals,” and opposing the presence of federal officials.
In the briefing, McEnany noted that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) had compared federal law enforcement officers to Nazis, and that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler had called them “paramilitary forces.”
She also described the violent actions of the demonstrators, and listed the injuries suffered by law enforcement officers.
Our brave officers have faced all these various things, like rioters barricading officers inside the Hatfield federal courthouse, trapping officers inside; a “commercial-grade” firework was launched by rioters; a federal agent’s hand was impaled by planted nails; another federal agent was shot with a pellet gun, leaving a wound deep to the bone; and, tragically, three federal officers were likely left permanently blinded by the rioters using lasers pointing directly at their eyes.
“These are not the actions of so-called ‘peaceful protesters,'” McEnany declared.
McEnany then aired video footage of the violence, including rioters setting fires outside the courthouse, attacking a federal officer, and shooting fireworks at the building, which was defaced with profane slogans.
The footage also showed the destruction of a statue of George Washington that was toppled last month. The statue was defaced with graffiti reading “1619” — a reference to the New York Times‘ “1619 Project,” which argues that the true founding of the United States took place the year the first slave arrived in North America. An American flag was also burned and draped over the downed statue.
“Mayor Wheeler is clearly failing in his duty to protect his city,” McEnany observed.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.