Trump threatens to send troops to Portland while stoking violence against protesters

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A similar move weeks ago failed to 'clean up' the tensions.

Donald Trump threatened on Monday to again send federal troops to Portland, Oregon, weeks after a similar move ramped up violence and chaos.

"Portland is a mess, and it has been for many years," Trump tweeted. "If this joke of a mayor doesn’t clean it up, we will go in and do it for them."

The threat came hours after Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler accused him of spreading hate and provoking violence in America's cities.

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"Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?" Wheeler said at a Sunday press conference. "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."

Spurred by police violence against citizens, protesters in Portland have demanded an end to systemic racism with months of nightly protests. With Trump's encouragement, right-wing counter-protesters have been streaming into the city in recent days and violently clashing with the anti-racism activists.

In July, Trump sent camouflaged federal agents into the city, claiming they were there to protect federal property. In addition to tear-gassing protesters (and Mayor Wheeler) and firing projectiles at peaceful protesters, the agents were recorded abducting non-violent demonstrators from the streets.

Rather than calm the city, local officials argued that federal troops inflamed tensions further and increased the levels of violence. Gov. Kate Brown told NPR in July that "having the presence of federal officers here, it's simply like adding gasoline to a fire." Tensions eased after the troops were withdrawn at the end of July, but the protests have continued.

Trump has repeatedly blamed Wheeler. On Sunday, he mocked him as the "wacky Radical Left Do Nothing Democrat Mayor of Portland, who has watched great death and destruction of his City during his tenure."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.