Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf blasted Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s comments that the deployment of federal agents is escalating tensions during protests in the city.
Wolf made his remarks during a Friday interview on television’s “Fox & Friends.”
“He’s putting politics over public safety,” he said of Wheeler.
“The violent criminal activity that the mayor, again, is not telling you the truth about occurs between midnight and 5 a.m. every morning and it is violent criminals and other violent opportunists attacking that courthouse and that’s what we’re concerned about,” he said.
Wheeler, who was tear-gassed outside the federal courthouse in Portland, told The New York Times the incident was an “egregious overreaction” by federal officers.
"This is not a de-escalation strategy," he said. "This is flat-out urban warfare and it's being brought on the people of this country by the president and it's got to stop now.”
Wheeler had been tear-gassed last week as he stood at a fence outside the courthouse during a night of protests against the presence of federal agents sent by President Donald Trump.
Wolf said the mayor is “intentionally confusing issues and playing politics.”
“There are no peaceful protests going on at 3:30 and 4 a.m. in the morning at that courthouse,” he said. “That occurs earlier in the day and there are no issues. It’s very disappointing. What we’ve been doing in Portland is securing our federal property there. We take a very defensive posture in doing that but we do have to come out and engage the violent individuals to push them back away from the fence line.”
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