Posted by News Express | 31 August 2020 | 656 times
President Donald Trump exchanged barbs Sunday with the mayor of Portland, Oregon, less than 24 hours after a man was killed as Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump supporters clashed in the Pacific Northwest city’s streets.
At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler urged protesters not to turn violent or attempt retribution in the wake of Saturday night’s shooting death.
The president, apparently watching the broadcast, tweeted his criticism.
“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,” Wheeler said to Trump. “What America needs is you to be stopped so we can come back together as one America.”
The mayor continued at length, bringing up everything from Trump’s sexist comments about women to his “racist attacks on Black people.”
Last week, as he accepted the Republican nomination for president, Trump used Portland as an example of the dystopian future Americans can expect if his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, defeats Trump in the November 3 election.
Voters “won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” the president said.
But Biden told MSNBC last week that Trump views the street violence “as a political benefit to him. He’s rooting for more violence, not less.”
The rally Saturday in support of the president drew hundreds of trucks full of supporters into Portland, some of whom shot paintball guns from the beds of pickup trucks, while protesters on the street threw objects back at them.
A police statement said officers heard gunfire and found a white man dead from a gunshot wound to the chest. Witnesses said the man was wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group based in Washington state that has previously clashed with protesters.
Joey Gibson, the leader of the group, told The Associated Press that he knew the man who died.
“I can't say much right now. All I can do is verify that he was a good friend and a supporter of Patriot Prayer,” Gibson said of the shooting victim in a text exchange.
And police are asking anyone with information to come forward.
“This violence is completely unacceptable," Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said early Sunday, “and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible.”
A top Trump administration official, acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf, on ABC’s “This Week” show blamed the extended violence in Portland on state and local officials for “not allowing law enforcement to do their jobs.”
“The violence needs to end,” Wolf said. He said the federal government continues to offer law enforcement assistance to Portland beyond previously sending in troops that subsequently were withdrawn.
“They continue to refuse federal assistance to bring this to an end,” Wolf said of Oregon and Portland officials. In Portland, he said “you see exactly how not to protect your city.”
“My message to anyone protesting: Please do that peacefully,” Wolf said.
Trump retweeted a video showing the caravan of his supporters driving into Portland, calling them “Great Patriots.” On CBS’s “Face the Nation” show, Wolf rejected a suggestion that by applauding the parade of vehicles, Trump heightened tensions.
“Absolutely not,” Wolf said.
The Portland shooting was the latest incident stemming from racial unrest across the United States as Americans have protested racial injustice and police abuse of minorities following the May 25 death of a Black man, George Floyd, while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
President Trump on Tuesday is to visit one of those cities, Kenosha, Wisconsin, even though the state’s governor, Tony Evers, has asked him not to come. (VOA)
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