Oregon Gov. Kate Brown blamed President Trump on Sunday for riots that have raged in Portland for the last three months, saying he has “encouraged division and stoked violence.”
In a statement a day after a fatal shooting during clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and pro-Trump protesters, Ms. Brown praised racial justice activists and complained of “Black lives taken by racist violence.”
She did decry “small groups of demonstrators from all ends of the political spectrum” who she said are committing violence.
“Tragically, yesterday a life was lost in downtown Portland. We do not yet know the full circumstances of this person’s death,” she said.
Still, she did blame Mr. Trump.
“For the last several years, and escalating in recent months, President Trump has encouraged division and stoked violence. It happened in Charlottesville. It happened in Kenosha. And now, unfortunately, it is happening in Portland, Oregon,” she said.
“But despite the President’s jeers and tweets, this is a matter of life and death,” she added. “Whether it’s his completely incompetent response to the pandemic, where nearly 200,000 have died, or his outright encouragement of violence in our streets: it should be clear to everyone by now that no one is truly safe with Donald Trump as President.”
Riots were occurring in Portland as far back as May 29, or well before Mr. Trump began complaining about the city’s outbreak of lawlessness.
With the federal courthouse in the city’s downtown under nightly assault, and Ms. Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler prohibiting state and local police from helping out, Homeland Security surged federal agents and officers to protect the courthouse.
Mr. Wheeler said those federal forces were fueling the violence and predicted when the feds pulled back, things would calm down.
Under a deal Ms. Brown struck with Homeland Security, the federal presence did lessen a month ago — but the violence continued, shifting to target local police and government buildings instead.
Mr. Wheeler last week demanded calm, and said the racial justice movement was being overshadowed by the small contingent of violent demonstrators.
As the nightly violence has raged, pro-Trump and pro-police demonstrators have gathered in the famously liberal city the last two weekends.
On Saturday, clashes broke out between them and BLM protesters, and in the mayhem, one man was shot dead.
Joey Gibson, head of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, said the dead man was a “good friend and a supporter” of the group, although he did not identify him.
The shooter remained at large Sunday afternoon.