Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler claims his city is “very prepared” for dueling protests planned for this weekend between right-wing groups and so-called anti-fascists.
The Oregon Democrat warned that law enforcement will “be ready” for the looming demonstrations planned for this weekend and promised swift action against anyone committing any acts of violence. But in an interview with Fox News, he stopped short of denouncing Antifa groups directly.
(Video: Fox News)
“So what do you expect from this weekend then, based on the precautions in the planning that your city has done, how prepared are you?” Fox News anchor Sandra Smith asked Wheeler on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday.
“We are very prepared,” the Democrat replied.
“Look, we have seen this national rising tide of violence and hate speech and intolerance and it’s mostly been geared toward women, towards people of color, towards immigrants, that’s not who we are,” he continued. “We know that people are coming here from other parts of the country, we know that they intend to engage in acts of violence, and we want to put up the message, we’ll be ready for them, we will be enforcing the law. So people who are thinking of coming to Portland to commit acts of violence, we don’t want you here.”
Bill Hemmer asked the mayor about Antifa’s record, especially in light of the violence that broke out in June when conservative journalist Andy Ngo was brutally attacked while covering a rally in Portland and said he sustained a brain injury during the assault.
Wheeler, who came under heavy fire for his hands-off approach to the violent leftists, avoided Hemmer’s direct question while seeming to take on a new tougher tone.
“Look, this isn’t about anybody’s politics, this is about behavior,” he said. “Anybody, whether they are coming here, whether they live here, if they are engaged in acts of violence, if they are breaking the law, we are going to enforce it, we’re going to hold people accountable.”
Smith pressed the mayor on the plans by Antifa members, citing the nation’s oldest active anti-fascist group, Portland’s Rose City Antifa, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Ngo. The group has vowed to counter an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally by the controversial Proud Boys.
“Obviously you are doing your best to track their movements and their plans for the weekend,” Smith pressed Wheeler. “The local Antifa affiliate, if you will, or whatever you want to call it, Rose City Antifa, they claimed responsibility for the attack of Andy Ngo. What do you know about their whereabouts and their plans for the weekend?”
But again, the mayor deflected.
“Well, as the police commissioner, my job is to give broad strategic directions,” he replied.
“So what I am telling the police bureau is no violence, no vandalism, don’t let the city get shut down, make sure that people have the ability to go about their business, don’t let people stop this city. And they operationalized that and so I would defer to them in terms of the investigation,” he said. “I don’t personally, as the mayor, get involved in investigations, but I know that they are moving forward.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called for “legal action” against Wheeler following the attack on Ngo in June.
Ted Cruz calls for ‘legal action’ against Portland mayor after brutal Antifa attack https://t.co/eOOpGT92sh
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 30, 2019
“To federal law enforcement: investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who has, for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists,” Cruz tweeted.
Over one month after the violent rally and the Ngo attack, no arrests have been made.
Portland Police are asking the public for help finding Joseph Christian Evans. He was filmed & seen allegedly beating at least one person at the 29 June antifa riot where I was injured. https://t.co/sqsz8bFRET pic.twitter.com/oxaNYHi6ZL
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) August 13, 2019
President Trump indicated a few weeks ago that he would be in favor of labeling Antifa a terrorist organization.
“Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others),” the president tweeted. “Would make it easier for police to do their job!”
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