Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is prodding President Joe Biden to speak out and condemn the recent wave of protests and violence that has erupted in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, respectively.
Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, took to social media as protests continued in both cities Thursday. He highlighted that Biden, himself, has yet to address the unrest.
“I’m waiting for Pres Biden to condemn violence/looting/arson last two days in Oregon & Washington state,” Grassley wrote on Twitter:
I’m waiting for Pres Biden to condemn violence/looting/arson last two days in Oregon & Washington state
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) January 22, 2021
The GOP lawmaker’s comments came after protests in Portland and Seattle turned violent this week. On Wednesday, only hours after Biden was inaugurated, more than 150 protesters gathered in Portland for a planned march on the city’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility, the Oregonian reported. The protesters, who claimed their desired goal was to see Biden “abolish ICE,” proceeded to march on the facility waving Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist flags.
Upon arriving at the ICE facility, the protesters burned not only an American flag, but also one emblazoned with Biden’s 2020 campaign symbol:
Antifa in Portland burns an American and Joe Biden flag in the street. pic.twitter.com/iuUYPACfkw
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) January 21, 2021
The situation quickly escalated when law enforcement deemed the protest an unlawful assembly and attempted to disperse the crowd. Federal law enforcement was forced to deploy tear gas in an effort to quell the unrest.
Overall, police arrested 15 individuals for rioting, disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon, or inciting violence against law enforcement. People were also arrested for attempting to attack the Oregon Democratic Party headquarters.
Violence also erupted in Seattle following Biden’s inauguration. Protesters dressed in all black and carrying batons lit an American flag on fire in the city’s downtown section while attempting to march on an immigration facility, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. KOMO-TV, a local Seattle news outlet, captured video of the rioters damaging government buildings and businesses while using batons and umbrellas to shield themselves from police:
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) January 21, 2021
Despite the protests generating widespread damage, the Biden administration has yet to address the violence. At the White House’s first two press briefings on Wednesday and Thursday, press secretary Jen Psaki fielded no questions on the topic.