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Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley claimed in an interview Thursday that President Donald Trump was attempting to “create riots” throughout the country by deploying federal officers to help local police dispel unrest.
Merkley, who recently co-sponsored a bill to require federal officers to be clearly identified by name and agency as well as bar the use of ‘unmarked’ vehicles, told KOIN that the president was “trying to create riots across America through secret police tactics as a campaign strategy.”
“It’s standard procedure for dictators and authoritarian governments to use unmarked vans and unmarked cars and sweep people off the streets in this kind of secret police strategy, not the strategy here in America,” the Left-wing Democrat told KOIN, a likely reference to a recent viral video showing federal agents detaining a black-clad man last week in Portland.
Merkley claimed that Customs and Border Protection acting Director Mark Morgan told him that his agents were clearly marked and personally identified.
“He was either deeply (mis)informed based on the understanding of past practices or was misleading the American public,” Merkley told KOIN.
“This is an outrageous tactic. It is completely unacceptable and it quite frankly derives from Trump’s admiration for authoritarian governments around the world that use this tactic and now he’s brought it to America. We must end it,” he added.
But Merkley’s claim does not comport with statements Morgan made this week.
In response to federal agents being doxed — having their personal information including their home addresses published online — Morgan said he ordered his agents to remove personally identifiable name tapes to protect their identities and their families.
“That’s another thing that’s absolutely disgusting,” he said. “So they’re not only jeopardizing the lives of the agents, they’re also jeopardizing the lives of their families as they [are] putting out their home information and they’re suggesting that individuals go to their homes.
“So yes, as acting commissioner, I have authorized and supported removing their names from their uniforms,” Morgan added, according to Fox News.
Richard Cline, the deputy director for operations for the Federal Protective Service, also said that after 38 of his officers were doxed, he issued similar instructions.
“We are going to convert their name [tags] to their badge number as about 38 of our officers that are out there have been doxed and their personal information has been put online,” he said.
Also, Merkley’s statement that President Trump is attempting to start riots around the country is inaccurate.
The president has routinely offered federal assistance to mayors as a means of helping them quell unrest and rioting in cities like Portland, Seattle, and Chicago, all Democrat strongholds. But he has been rebuffed in each case.
In Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler blamed his city’s ongoing violence on the presence of federal officers who were sent to protect the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse earlier this month, despite the fact that the unrest has been ongoing for nearly two months.
I told the Acting Secretary that my biggest immediate concern is the violence federal officers brought to our streets in recent days, and the life-threatening tactics his agents use. We do not need or want their help.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) July 14, 2020
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also rejected the Trump administration’s offer of assistance.
“Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents,” she tweeted on Tuesday.
Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 21, 2020
Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, as well as many of the state’s elected Democrats, also rebuffed Trump when he chastised them for continuing to allow demonstrators to create the so-called CHOP zone last month.
Meantime, Democrats continue to make false statements about federal officers deployed to protect government property and monuments.
Merkley and others have referred to them as “secret police,” while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called them “Trump’s stormtroopers” and accused them of “kidnapping” American citizens.
First Amendment speech should never be met with one-sided violence from federal agents acting as Trump’s secret police, especially when unidentified. This is disgraceful behavior we would expect from a banana republic — not the government of the United States.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 18, 2020
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