Democratic leaders join forces to protect Portland rioters

Another harrowing week of violence in Portland, Oregon culminated with protesters breaking into the Portland Police Association building on Saturday, setting it on fire and starting dumpster fires in the city. They also threw rocks and paint-filled balloons at police officers, causing injuries, the police department said.

A large crowd also converged downtown near the Justice Center and removed the fencing around the Federal Courthouse Saturday night. They also tore down fences around Chapman Square Park and Lonsdale Square Park, police said.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Oregon’s Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer stood with the rioters on Saturday, not President Donald Trump, who has dispatched federal agents to bring order back to Portland’s streets.

They issued a joint statement Saturday denouncing the president’s actions: “We live in a democracy, not a banana republic. We will not tolerate the use of Oregonians, Washingtonians – or any other Americans – as props in President Trump’s political games. The House is committed to moving swiftly to curb these egregious abuses of power immediately,” they wrote.

Oregon’s Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley also condemned the actions of the Trump administration. “Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end,” he tweeted Thursday.  

Even the Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has failed to stop the violent acts of the ‘peaceful protesters,’ backed calls for the administration to leave the city and allow the rioters to keep tearing it apart without any interference. He said the federal law enforcement presence is “leading to more violence and more vandalism” and is “not helping the situation at all.” 

“They’re not wanted here, we haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave,” he said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, a Democrat, also sued  Homeland Security and the Marshals Service on Friday over the detention of protesters. US Attorney for Oregon District Billy Williams also rejected help from the administration and called for a probe into the actions of federal agents.

Democratic leaders have turned their backs on the citizens of Portland who are under siege and law enforcement officials who have been battling Antifa and Black Lives Matter anarchists on the streets for 52 consecutive days, by PBS’ count. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been on the ground at the request of the Trump administration trying to quell the riots.

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley tweeted Saturday, “As a legal matter, Portland cannot force the federal officers out of Portland or prevent arrests for federal offenses. This is the other side of federalism. The federal government has jurisdiction in the protection of federal buildings and the arrest of suspects in federal crimes.”

A group of protesters and rioters swooped down on the Portland Federal Courthouse last Saturday morning. One rioter used a 16-inch sledgehammer to break open a door of the building before using the weapon to strike a police officer in the head and shoulder, forcing officers to deploy teargas and pepper spray.

 Mark Morgan, Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection issued a statement on Friday: “Violent anarchists have organized events in Portland over the last several weeks with willful intent to damage and destroy federal property, as well as, injure federal officers and agents. These criminal actions will not be tolerated.”

“We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action,” the president tweeted Sunday.

“We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!” the president wrote. 

Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters have crippled and shuddered many businesses in downtown Portland after inflicting $23 million worth of damage, according to Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis. He also reported that more than 100 people, including city employees and the public, have sustained physical injuries.

Democrats still insist that the protesters vandalizing the city and injuring police are peaceful. On Sunday Democratic chairs of three House committees urged the inspectors general for the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to investigate the use of force by federal law enforcement officers against the protesters. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney wrote a joint letter to Michael Horowitz, the DOJ inspector general, and Joseph Cuffari, inspector general for DHS complaining that the Trump administration appears “to have increasingly abused emergency authorities to justify the use of force against Americans exercising their right to peaceful assembly.”