- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2020

President Trump and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler finally found something to agree on — protesters have gotten out of hand, and are now guilty of attempted murder.

Mr. Trump, at a press conference in New Jersey Friday night, renewed his offer to send in National Guard troops to quell violence in the Oregon city, and said if the governor doesn’t make the request, he may still deploy the troops anyway.

“These are really sick, disturbed people,” the president said of the rioters.

Thursday night saw yet another attack by demonstrators on Portland police, with officers facing lasers aimed at their eyes, bottles and eggs tossed at them, and fires set around a precinct building. That followed another attack on Wednesday, where protesters barricaded the precinct, trapping about 20 officers inside, and tried to set fires.

Mr. Wheeler held a stunning press conference Thursday where he told protesters to stay home, and said attempts to burn the precinct with people inside was attempted murder.

Mr. Trump said Friday he agrees with that description.

Mr. Wheeler’s remarks were a stark turnaround from a couple weeks ago, when he said it was federal officers whose presence was inciting the violence.

Federal officials had deployed additional agents and officers to the U.S. courthouse in the city’s downtown after it became the target of the worst violence. Each night would see peaceful mass protests at the beginning, but hundreds would stay later and attack the courthouse, attempting to pull down the fence around it, ignite fires, batter the officers with thrown objects and fire green lasers at their eyes.

After a deal was struck with Gov. Kate Brown, the federal presence was lessened more than a week ago. The violence, however, has continued — with only the target shifting. Now it’s Portland city buildings, and particularly the city police, that are taking the brunt of the attacks.

Mr. Trump took a victory lap over the lessened attacks on the courthouse.

“Just like we saved the courthouse, we will save the United States of America,” Mr. Trump said.

And he said if Ms. Brown would request federal assistance, the violence aimed at city buildings and police could be stemmed.

“We would be able to solve the Portland situation immediately,” the president said.

Mr. Wheeler, in his Thursday press conference, told protesters they were playing into Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign, saying the violence would become video in his campaign ads.

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