Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler warned peaceful protesters to avoid the areas around federal and public buildings if they don’t want to participate in violent and criminal activity or be used as a “prop” for President Donald Trump’s advertisements.
“If you are a nonviolent demonstrator and you don’t want to be part of intentional violence, please stay away from these areas,” Wheeler said.
The Democratic mayor made the comments Thursday evening during a media conference about violent protests in his city, saying that anyone who is taking part in the increasing violence in the area is creating content for Trump’s re-election campaign.
“Don’t think for a moment that, if you are participating in this activity, you are not being a prop for the re-election campaign of Donald Trump,” Wheeler said.
“Because you absolutely are. You are creating the B-roll film that will be used in ads nationally to help Donald Trump during his campaign. If you don’t want to be part of that, then don’t show up.”
Wheeler, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell, Capt. Tony Passadore and Portland Fire and Rescue Lt. Damon Simmons addressed the violent actions of protesters over the past two-plus months in the city and a gathering in East Portland on Wednesday, The Oregonian reported.
During Wednesday’s gathering, protesters spray-painted security cameras and a glass door in front of the police bureau, ripped plywood off windows, cracked glass doors and lit contents inside a garbage can that had been placed in front of the precinct’s entrance.
Wheeler said that while he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and peaceful protests, the demonstrators tried to commit arson and “potentially attempted murder” when they trapped police staff inside the building.
“Our community must say that this violence is not Portland, that these actions do not reflect our values and these crimes are distracting from reform, not advancing,” Wheeler said.
He added that police have been instructed to do “whatever is necessary to safely hold these individuals who are engaged in criminal activity and bring these nightly activities to a close.”
In a July 24 White House media briefing, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany showed a video of violent protesters in Portland as an example of the “anarchy” in the streets.
“For 55 days in Portland, Oregon, we’ve seen lawlessness, anarchy and destruction that threatens peace in our streets and the safety of our fellow American citizens and the safety of our brave law enforcement officers,” McEnany said.
“As you can see, that is anything but a peaceful protest. And this president will always stand on the side of law and order.”
The videos from Portland are being used for Trump’s platform of “law and order,” as the Trump campaign has accused Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of siding with “criminals,” Politico reported.
“That Biden would accuse law enforcement of ‘stoking the fires of division’ while the mob is literally setting fires to police buildings is unconscionable,” Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s campaign communications director, said in a statement.
“Biden has clearly lost his moral bearings and failed the leadership test. He once again has proven he is too weak to stand up [to] the extremists running his party and can’t bring himself to take the side of law enforcement officers under siege.”
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