Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared Sunday afternoon that President Donald Trump was to blame for the violence that, he said, led to the shooting death of a right-wing demonstrator on Saturday evening.
A man — as yet unidentified — was shot and killed on the street after a caravan of Trump supporters moved through downtown Portland and there were clashes with left-wing activists. The man wore a “Patriot Prayer” hat and was reportedly among the Trump supporters who had participated in the caravan.
Police held a press conference on Sunday afternoon, suggesting that details about the killing would be provided. Instead, Mayor Wheeler used the occasion to bash Trump.
After denouncing “all violence,” and urging people to “pull together in the name of peace and humanity,” Wheeler boasted of the “historic changes that we’ve already made, and have committed to making, as we re-imagine what public safety and racial justice can look like in our community.” (Portland’s city council voted to “defund the police” by $15 million earlier this year.)
Wheeler then said:
Yesterday’s events began with hundreds of cars filled with supporters of the president, rallying in Clackamas County and then driving through downtown Portland. They were supported and energized by the president himself. President Trump, for four years, we’ve had to live with you and your racist attacks on black people. We learned early about your sexist attitudes towards women. We’ve had to endure clips of you mocking a disabled man. We’ve had to listen to your antidemocratic attacks on journalists. We’ve read your tweets slamming private citizens to the point of receiving death threats, and we’ve listened to your attacks on immigrants. We’ve listened to you label Mexicans, “rapists.” We’ve heard you say that John McCain wasn’t a hero, because he was a prisoner of war. And now, you’re attacking Democratic mayors in the very institutions of democracy that have served his nation well since its founding. Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It’s you who have created the hate and the division. It’s you who have not found a way to say the names of black people killed by police officers, even as people in law enforcement have. And it’s you who claim that white supremacists are good people. Your campaign of fear is as antidemocratic as anything you’ve done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country. You’ve tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history. And now you want me to stop the violence that you helped create. What America needs is for you to be stopped so that we can come back together as one America…
Wheeler cited several hoaxes, including:
- Trump did not mock a disabled reporter
- Trump did not call all Mexicans rapists
- Trump did not call white supremacists “good people”
- Trump met with the families of victims of police violence (and said their names)
After Wheeler spoke, the Portland Police Bureau indicated that no details about the killing would be forthcoming.
The conference was interrupted by shouts from outside the room of “Black lives matter!”
Wheeler added that Trump has been “perpetrating violent and hateful language for years” and claimed that Trump had “encouraged” the Trump supporters “to come into our community.” He added that Trump had “encouraged, or at least tacitly approved, violence” in the past.
Asked by reporters what he could have done to prevent the violence, Wheeler deflected the question, talking about measures that he had supported to reform policing in Portland.
In June, Wheeler joined a violent protest outside the federal courthouse in Portland to show his support. Demonstrators threw flaming objects at the courthouse while Wheeler was present.
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.