Speaking at a news conference, Mayor 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?”
“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.”
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 Sunday afternoon, who denounced the mayor as “wacky.”
“Portland will never recover with a fool for a Mayor,” Trump said. “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 U.S. Courthouse, because he couldn’t do it.”
The tweets 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.
“And we will both be held accountable, as we should.”