Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) blamed President Donald Trump for violence that led up to Saturday’s fatal shooting of a seemingly conservative-leaning man in the city that Wheeler governs.
“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It’s you who have created the hate and the division,” Wheeler said on Sunday during a press conference regarding the deadly Portland shooting.
“Yesterday’s events began with hundreds of cars filled with supporters of the president rallying in Clackamas County and then driving through downtown Portland,” Wheeler said. “They were supported and energized by the president himself.”
“President Trump, for four years, we’ve had to live with you and your racist attacks on black people, we learned early about your sexist attitudes towards women,” Wheeler said of the president. “We’ve had to endure clips of you mocking a disabled man. We’ve had to listen to your anti-democratic attacks on journalists. We’ve read your tweets slamming private citizens to the point of receiving death threats. And we’ve listened to your attacks on immigrants.”
“We’ve listened to you label Mexicans — rapists,” Wheeler continued. “We’ve heard you say that John McCain wasn’t a hero because he was a prisoner of war. And now you’re attacking Democratic mayors and the very institutions of democracy that have served this nation well since its founding.”
“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It’s you who have created the hate and the division,” the Portland mayor stated.
“President Trump, you bring no peace. You bring no respect to our democracy,” he added. “You, Mr. President, need to do your job as the leader of this nation. I, Mr. President, will do my job as the mayor of this city. We will both be held accountable as we should. I’m calling out every other elected official in Oregon to join me. Not only in defeating racism but helping me to stop the violence as we are and will continue to be held accountable by all of our residents.”
Trump retaliated to Wheeler’s accusation in a series of tweets, including calling him a “weak and pathetic mayor.”
“Ted Wheeler, the wacky Radical Left Do Nothing Democrat Mayor of Portland, who has watched great death and destruction of his City during his tenure, thinks this lawless situation should go on forever. Wrong! Portland will never recover with a fool for a Mayor,” Trump wrote.
“He tried mixing with the Agitators and Anarchists and they mocked him,” the president continued. “He would like to blame me and the Federal Government for going in, but he hasn’t seen anything yet We have only been there with a small group to defend our U.S. Courthouse, because he couldn’t do it.”
“The people of Portland, like all other cities & parts of our great Country, want Law & Order,” Trump stressed.
Trump then called out Joe Biden, “The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland, or the guy right now in his basement unwilling to lead or even speak out against crime, will never be able to do it!”
Biden joined Wheeler in saying that Trump was to blame for the violence in Democratic-controlled cities across the nation.
“The deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable,” Biden said on Sunday. “Shooting in the streets of a great American city is unacceptable. I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same.”
“We must not become a country at war with ourselves. A country that accepts the killing of fellow Americans who do not agree with you,” the Democratic presidential nominee said. “A country that vows vengeance toward one another. But that is the America that President Trump wants us to be, the America he believes we are.”
“What does President Trump think will happen when he continues to insist on fanning the flames of hate and division in our society and using the politics of fear to whip up his supporters? He is recklessly encouraging violence,” Biden stated.
“He may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong – but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is,” Biden added. “He may think that war in our streets is good for his reelection chances, but that is not presidential leadership – or even basic human compassion.”
“Donald Trump has been president for almost four years,” the former vice president said. “The temperature in the country is higher, tensions run stronger, divisions run deeper. And all of us are less safe because Donald Trump can’t do the job of the American president.”
Portland has experienced 93-straight days of protests, many of which have escalated into riots. Black Lives Matter protesters chained themselves inside the lobby of Wheeler’s condo on Friday.
Earlier this month, Wheeler warned rioters in Portland that they are helping Trump get reelected. “You are creating the B-roll film that will be used in ads nationally to help Donald Trump during this campaign,” Wheeler said.
Trump has offered to send in federal officers to quell the riots in Portland numerous times, and as recently as two days before the fatal shooting.
On Friday, Wheeler rebuffed the president’s offer by writing a letter. “Yet again, you said you offered to aid Portland by sending in federal law enforcement to our city,” Wheeler wrote. “On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks.” Adding, “Stay away please.”
Despite not having federal agents in Portland, the Department of Justice announced last week that 74 people are facing federal charges for crimes committed during violent riots in Oregon’s largest city.
Also on Sunday, Trump tweeted out condolences to the man who was shot dead in Portland. The victim is identified as Jay Bishop.
Bishop was a member of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, and was wearing a hat dedicated to the right-wing group when he was killed. Joey Gibson, founder of the Patriot Prayer, said, “We love Jay and he had such a huge heart. God bless him and the life he lived.”