President Donald Trump said Thursday, July 30, that his administration would send National Guard soldiers into Portland to stop nightly protests at the downtown federal courthouse if local officials and law enforcement couldn't handle the job.
Trump's threat came just after a July 29 agreement with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to begin a phased withdrawal of federal agents from Portland. That agreement called for Oregon State Police to take over security around the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on Southwest Third Avenue in downtown Portland.
Protests in Portland grew sharply more violent in recent weeks when the federal law enforcement agents arrived. Leaders from Brown, Oregon's congressional delegation, and city and county elected leaders demanded the troops be pulled out.
Trump told reporters during a July 30 White House press briefing that the Department of Homeland Security would abide by the July 29 deal. But Trump also told a reporter from One America News network that if protesters around the courthouse continued to be violent, he would send federal troops back into the city if local law enforcement wasn't able to "clean out this beehive of terrorists."
"Our people are staying there to see whether or not they can do it today and tomorrow," Trump told reporters. "And if they don't do it, we will send in the National Guard and we'll take care of it."
Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon, isnâ€™t doing her job. She must clear out, and in some cases arrest, the Anarchists & Agitators in Portland. If she canâ€™t do it, the Federal Government will do it for her. We will not be leaving until there is safety!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
The president's briefing was also hours after he tweeted that Brown would have to "clear out, and in some cases arrest, the anarchists & agitators in Portland. If she can't do it, the federal government will do it for her. We will not be leaving until there is safety!"
Trump told White House reporters that Portland "was a mess" and "just a disaster."
"You see it, and a lot of people weren't reporting it right. They tried to pretend it was a protest, as opposed to anarchists and agitators. You understand what I'm saying. It's a mess."
He said federal agents, who have been the focus of nightly protests, had "put a ring around the courthouse and they saved it." The president described protesters around the courthouse as "professional agitators" and "professional anarchists" who "hate our country."
"We're telling them, right now, that we're coming in very soon — the National Guard," Trump told reporters.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.