Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler wants federal agents to leave his city as soon as possible, he told CNN's Jake Tapper during Sunday's edition of State of the Union.
Tensions have been high in Portland this week amid demonstrations against police brutality, with protesters and local and state officials accusing troops associated with the Department of Homeland Security of arresting people without identifying themselves, as well as without probable cause. Oregon's Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is suing the federal government over the issue.
On the flip side, defenders of the federal intervention, like Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, say the agents' presence in the city is necessary because of increased vandalism. On Saturday night, Portland law enforcement declared a riot after protesters allegedly broke into and lit a Portland Police Association office on fire.
Wheeler told Tapper that violence only increased after the arrival of the federal troops, arguing that local authorities had things under control already. He said he believed the demonstrations were losing steam and would peter out soon, but then the DHS agents showed up and "used their unconstitutional tactics," causing the "whole thing" to blow up again "like a powder keg."
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on federal troops descending upon the unrest in his city: "Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism. And it's not helping the situation at all. They're not wanted here" https://t.co/20VH2GZFlS #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/uTi9qC5mBY
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) July 19, 2020
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