Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s characterization of federal agents squelching violence in major cities across the country “absurd.”
“They are enforcing the law. They are enforcing statutes passed by Congress,” Mr. Wolf told Fox News on Friday, citing federal law that allows feds to protect federal facilities and arrest violent criminals threatening law enforcement.
His comments come after Mrs. Pelosi called the federal agents “stormtroopers” earlier in the week, as Democrats have pushed back on the Trump administration’s intervention in cities that have seen violent riots and increased crime.
“Unidentified stormtroopers. Unmarked cars. Kidnapping protesters and causing severe injuries in response to graffiti. These are not the actions of a democratic republic,” Mrs. Pelosi tweeted this week. “Trump & his stormtroopers must be stopped.”
“It’s very, very dangerous,” Mr. Wolf said of the California Democrat’s lack of support for the feds.
He said there have been 1,000 to 2,000 violent rioters on the streets of Portland for weeks, protesting for Black Lives Matter. But violent protesters have surrounded a federal courthouse in the area and have been clashing with law enforcement for weeks.
Despite Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler saying the Trump administration is not needed in his city, the president has sent federal agents to the streets to help make arrests.
Mr. Wolf said the administration needs local leaders to allow state and city police to do their jobs and help arrest rioters causing the damage and violence.