Did Portland's sheriff endorse Donald J. Trump in the race for U.S. President?
Well, first off, the law enforcement agency within the city of Portland is the Portland Police Bureau, but Multnomah County, which contains Portland, does have a Sheriff's Office — it primarily patrols in eastern areas of the county, including the cities of Troutdale, Fairview, Wood Village and unincorporated areas of Corbett reaching into the Columbia River Gorge.
Nevertheless, President Trump made the claim during a debate with former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening, Sept. 29.
"I have Portland, the sheriff just came out today and said, 'I support Trump,'" the president claimed on national television.
But the Multnomah County Sheriff — Mike Reese, for the record — says that's not true.
"In tonight's presidential debate the President said the 'Portland Sheriff' supports him. As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him," Reese tweeted minutes after the claim was made.
His spokesman, Chris Liedle, made the point equally forcefully.
"NO," Liedle wrote, in all caps, in response to a query from a reporter.
Spokesman for the Multnomah County Sheriff gives a rather forceful response when asked whether he's endorsed President Trump pic.twitter.com/BSc5VQaWZs— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) September 30, 2020
Searching farther afield, Portland does contain slivers of Clackamas and Washington counties, which both have elected sheriffs.
Yet each agency denied any involvement.
"Sheriff Garrett has not endorsed President Trump and does not intend on making any national enforcement," said Sgt. Danny DiPietro, referring to Sheriff Pat Garret. "The Washington County Sheriff's Office is a nonpartisan office and is focused on serving the Washington County Community."
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Marcus Mendoza issued a similar denial on behalf of Sheriff Craig Roberts: "Sheriff Roberts has not made any national endorsement."
The Portland Police Bureau's union leadership brushed off that possibility as well.
"No. The PPA has not made any endorsements in the presidential race," said Angela Henderson Orr, spokeswoman for the Portland Police Association.
The Portland Police Bureau itself did not respond when asked if Police Chief Chuck Lovell has endorsed any candidate for president.
It's possible the president was thinking of Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth, who did in fact endorse Trump in an OP-ED for USA Today published Sept. 26.
During the debate, Trump also referenced the death of Aaron "Jay" Danielson, a local man who was killed by a left-wing protester for wearing gear affiliated with a local conservative group, and described sending federal forces into Portland to quell the last 100 days of demonstrations. The use of federal agents sparked a national debate and drew hundreds of additional protesters to Portland's streets.
"Somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem ... This is a left-wing problem," Trump added.
Biden disagreed, saying that local authorities "can in fact take care of it if he'd just stay out of the way," referring to Trump.
Regarding the Proud Boys, a conservative group that has been involved in several violent protests on Portland's streets in the past few years, Trump told the group to "stand back and stand by."
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