On Wednesday night, after months of violent rioting in the city of Portland, Democratic Oregon Governor Kate Brown finally ordered the National Guard to go to Portland.
Brown had directed the National Guard to be on standby on Monday. The Multnomah County Sheriff announced the move on Twitter and explained the rationale:
Unified Command on National Guard activation: Widespread violence is occurring in Downtown Portland. In the interest of public safety, Governor Kate Brown, under advice of the Unified Command, has activated the use of the Oregon National Guard to assist local law enforcement in responding to any acts of violence, and to maintain public order and ensure community safety. Guard members are trained in crowd control and will be riding with local response teams.
They are dressed in military style garb, which is their uniform. Oregon National Guard members are civilian community members helping to protect us. We don’t take this decision lightly. Under the Governor’s Order, we continue to work together and share our resources and information to address any public safety concerns. Our goal is to keep our community safe. We encourage demonstrators to gather peacefully.
…in responding to any acts of violence, and to maintain public order and ensure community safety. Guard members are trained in crowd control and will be riding with local response teams. They are dressed in military style garb, which is their uniform…
— Multnomah Co Sheriff (@MultCoSO) November 5, 2020
Our goal is to keep our community safe. We encourage demonstrators to gather peacefully. ###
— Multnomah Co Sheriff (@MultCoSO) November 5, 2020
“By 7 p.m. rioters were seen vandalizing buildings, including breaking the windows of a St. Andrea Bassett Church which helps those who are homeless, experiencing poverty, mental health issues and substance abuse. They also broke ATMs. An American flag was also set on fire in the middle of a downtown street,” Fox 12 reported.
Riot declared downtown, National Guard activated. https://t.co/y2FemFcXEh
— Fox12Oregon (@fox12oregon) November 5, 2020
Brown had repeatedly rejected sending in the National Guard to Portland, as Portland’s leftist Democratic mayor Ted Wheeler highlighted.
On September 4, at a press conference, Brown was asked, “In a number of cases, we’ve seen governors call for the National Guard to provide more resources to help police and quell the violence that stem from the protest like we’re seeing up here in Portland. Regardless of training, why are you not calling in the National Guard even when the mayor says he’s asked for your help in that regard?”
Brown responded: “So just to be very, very clear, the mayor asked for assistance from the National Guard several weeks, perhaps months ago, and there were multiple reasons at the time why I rejected that request. … In terms of Oregon, I’m relying on our trained law enforcement, the Superintendent of the State Police, Travis Hampton, the Portland Police Chief, Chuck Lavelle. Travis, Superintendent Hampton would say that, A, we don’t need the national guard at this time and, B, that they are not trained for this work. What we need on the ground is trained law enforcement.”
In August, Wheeler, who had twice previously asked Brown for the National Guard, rejected Trump’s offer to send in the National Guard to Portland. Wheeler said in an August 28 letter to Trump:
Yet again, you said you offered to aid Portland by sending in federal law enforcement to our city.
On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks.
We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery. Portlanders are onto you. We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic. And we know you’ve reached the conclusion that images of violence or vandalism are your only ticket to reelection.
There is no place for looting, arson, or vandalism in our city. There is no room here for racist violence or those who wish to bring their ideology of hate into our community. Those who commit criminal acts will be apprehended and prosecuted under the law.
Tens of thousands of Portlanders have peacefully protested and marched for the noble cause of fixing our broken criminal justice system. They are part of the proud progressive tradition of Portlanders fighting for justice – from racial justice to economic justice to environmental justice.
When you sent the Feds to Portland last month, you made the situation far worse. Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city.
In Portland, we are focused on coming together as a community to solve the serious challenges we face due to systemic racism, a global pandemic and an economic recession.
Stay away, please.
Trump reiterated his offer on August 30, tweeting, “The National Guard is Ready, Willing and Able. All the Governor has to do is call!”
The National Guard is Ready, Willing and Able. All the Governor has to do is call! https://t.co/iRe5ExgRGO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2020
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