Violence that has roiled cities around the country is the result of defund-the-police efforts, acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Sunday.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Wolf singled out Portland for its “failure” to control riots and unrest since demonstrations began after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25.
I think what we've seen from a number of metropolitan cities… and including Portland is the direct effect of what we are seeing in law enforcement, on the defund law enforcement, abolish ICE, dismantle DHS — take your descriptive phrase-of-the-day. This is all having a dramatic effect on criminals in these cities. At the heart of it, criminals are violent opportunists. They are going to look for an opportunity and they're going to strike. And you're seeing that across the country.”
Portland, Wolf asserted, has been “a failure so far” in controlling violence at daily demonstrations.
“What we are seeing in certain cities is they are working with the federal government” to control violent demonstrations, he said. “We don't see in Portland. They are taking it on their own and we have seen it to be a failure so far.”
“For 89 straight days, it's been a singular group of anarchists and others that are doing this violence in Portland,” he said, adding “Portland has fostered an environment that allows violent individuals across the spectrum to come into downtown Portland, assault law enforcement, assault federal facilities or local facilities, and they do little to nothing about it. They do arrests at the end of the day. They do some riot control measures. But they do not step in and cut this off where it should be before it even gets started.”
In the contentious interview, Wolf also denied that his appointment was illegal, as the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ watchdog, found last week.
The GAO investigators “have no authority in this area. ... We vehemently disagree with what the GAO put out,” Wolf asserted.
He also dismissed criticism by his former chief of staff at DHS Miles Taylor as pure politics.
“It's politics particularly with Miles. Fourteen months ago he left the [department]. Hasn't said anything until about five days ago. So again I think people understand what this is about. This is about politics first and foremost, and it's unfortunate.”
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