President Trump vowed Monday to send more federal law enforcement agents into cities to quell a surge of violence, saying Democratic officials are “physically afraid” to confront anarchists and others causing trouble in cities such as Portland, Oregon.
“We’re sending law enforcement,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “We’ll have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you. We can’t let this happen to the cities.”
Chicago, New York and other large cities have seen a significant rise in shootings and other violence this summer, even as activists on the left are calling for cities to “defund” police departments.
In Portland, federal law enforcement officials have moved in during the past week to help gain control of the streets, raising complaints from local and state leaders about the use of unmarked vehicles and other tactics.
The president said he’s taking a stand because local and state Democratic leaders in Oregon and elsewhere are too timid.
“The governor and the mayor, and the senators out there — they’re afraid of these people,” Mr. Trump said. “That’s the reason they don’t want us to help. They’re afraid, I really believe they’re actually maybe even physically afraid of these people.”
Mr. Trump said he acted in Portland only after 51 straight days of civil unrest.
“I’m going to do something, that I can tell you, because we’re not going to leave New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore and all of these [cities] — Oakland is a mess,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re not going to let this happen in our country — all run by liberal Democrats.”
He said federal agents in Portland “really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time, no problem.”
“They grab them, a lot of people in jail, their leaders,” the president said approvingly. “These are anarchists, these are not protesters. These are people that hate our country. And we’re not gonna let it go forward.”
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky objected to the administration sending “unidentified” federal agents to Portland.
“We cannot give up liberty for security,” Mr. Paul tweeted. “Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will.”
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a Libertarian who quit the Republican Party last year, said on Twitter, “Donald Trump is deploying unmarked federal police, decked out like a paramilitary force, to grab Americans off the streets. He’s not protecting liberty; he’s practicing tyranny.”
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