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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan blasted Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler for behaving like “a 10-year-old” instead of a responsible leader.
While Portland officials blame federal authorities for “escalating” violence in the Oregon city, and as Wheeler has continued to rebuff offers of assistance from the Department of Homeland Security, Morgan slammed the Democratic leadership for allowing violence and attacks on federal property.
Wheeler not only joined protesters in Portland, and was subjected to tear-gas by federal officers trying to protect the courthouse, he called their actions an “egregious overreaction” and continued to refuse help. Last week, the mayor had declared that he wouldn’t meet with DHS leaders who visited the city even if they asked.
Federal agents, including the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection team, were enlisted to quell the violent demonstrations in Portland where, just last weekend, rioters set fire to the Portland Police Association building after breaking into it.
Wheeler and other critics of President Trump’s call for federal intervention have had a meltdown over the supposedly unidentified federal forces in unmarked vehicles detaining rioters. The mayor accused DHS of a “federal occupation” on Friday and said it “must end.”
“That’s not a leader. That’s a 10-year-old,” Morgan told Fox News during an interview this week.
“The minute that we remove our presence from that building, this country would watch the courthouse burn to the ground at the hands of these criminals,” he said, adding that the Portland Police Department could end the siege “overnight, if they were allowed to just do their jobs.
“That’s not going to happen — and that’s what this is about. It’s not about all of the political talking points. It’s straightforward. It’s about law and order. It’s about criminals that are attacking a federal facility and have attempted night after night to burn it to the ground and they have assaulted federal agents night after night after night,” Morgan said.
City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and others on Portland’s city council are standing with Wheeler in defying federal help.
“Not only is the Trump administration violating the constitutional rights of Portlanders, but they are also attempting to use Portland as a proving ground for fascism, and they plan to invade cities across the country, cities that are political targets of the president,” Eudaly said.
A cease-and-desist letter was sent to the federal government by the city and the police department has been banned from cooperating with federal agents.
“It’s got a potential to have deadly impact — deadly impact, and I’m not being hyperbolic,” Morgan responded to the move.
“So, now you have a city council that is telling their police department that they cannot, cannot share information or intelligence with another law enforcement agency — and that includes even information against life. So what the city council has told the police department is basically that if you have information — even if a federal law enforcement life is in danger that they cannot share that information with that agency,” he said.
“That is outrageous, it’s irresponsible, and it’s a classic example of these local politicians putting politics before public safety … When did law enforcement in this situation become the enemy?” the acting CBP chief questioned.
“Communication has all but broke down,” he said.
In an interview earlier in the week, Morgan had blasted Wheeler for demanding federal forces leave the city.
(Source: Fox News)
“It’s actually a stupid statement that is not based in reality or fact,” Morgan told Fox News anchor Bret Baier, dismissing Portland claims that federal agents have made the situation worse.
“The reality here is this violence began in his city well before we deployed additional resources there,” he added, saying the individuals inciting violence are “not protesters, they are criminals.”
“Every night, they’re willfully coordinating, organizing, and planning to intentionally attack and destroy federal property and harm federal agents and officers. Those are criminals. That’s who we are talking about. That’s why we are there and we are not going anywhere,” he said.
He also noted that they have deployed specially trained officers to deal with the situation, and argued that there is a “statutory responsibility” to protect federal buildings.
“What we need is, we need local leaders to stop saying ridiculous, irresponsible things, reach out to these protesters and get the police to work with us to go out and stop and arrest these criminals,” Morgan argued. “That’s when he has to be done but they refuse to do it.