1044 GMT October 25, 2020
The Democratic mayor of Portland, Oregon, said it is President Donald Trump who “created the hate” in an unyielding attack on the White House following a shooting at a protest that left one person dead.
Speaking at a news conference on Sunday, Ted Wheeler asked, “Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?”, CNN reported.
“It’s you who have created the hate and the division. It’s you who have not found a way to say the names of black people killed by police officers even as people in law enforcement have. And it’s you who claimed that white supremacists are good people,” he continued. “Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything you’ve done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country.”
His forceful comments come one day after a person was shot and killed in downtown Portland after an evening of violent clashes between Trump supporters and protesters denouncing police brutality.
For more than 90 consecutive nights, protesters in Portland have gathered against police brutality and racial injustice. The protests were spurred by the killing of George Floyd in May and gained steam after last weekend’s police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
Addressing Trump personally, Wheeler lamented that “for four years we’ve had to live with you and your racist attacks on black people.”
“We learned early about your sexist attitudes toward women. 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,” he said.
“We’ve listened to you label Mexicans ‘rapists.’ 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.”
Wheeler’s message provoked a string of tweets from the president, who denounced the mayor as “wacky.”
“Portland will never recover with a fool for a Mayor,” Trump wrote. “He tried mixing with the Agitators and Anarchists and they mocked him. 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 US Courthouse, because he couldn’t do it.”
The tweet marked an immediate rebuke of Wheeler’s news conference plea to the president to let him, as mayor, handle the unrest.
“President Trump, you bring no peace. You bring no respect to our Democracy. You, Mr. President, need to do your job as the leader of this nation and I, Mr. President, will do my job as the mayor of this city,” he said.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday called the Portland violence unacceptable and challenged Trump to stop “recklessly encouraging” it, according to Reuters.
“I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same,” Biden said in a statement, adding that “we must not become a country at war with ourselves.”
“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,” the former vice president added.
Republicans deny Trump is seeking to exacerbate violence with incendiary rhetoric, saying he wants to restore law and order, while accusing Democratic mayors and state governors of losing control of cities rocked by demonstrations that have seen outbreaks of violence, arson and vandalism.