The Trump administration reached an agreement Wednesday with Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on a plan to stop violence in Portland, but they appear to disagree on a timeline regarding withdrawing federal troops.
President Donald Trump told reporters earlier Wednesday that federal troops will remain in the city until it is “secure.” Hours later, Brown announced an agreement with the administration. Brown claimed that “starting tomorrow, all Customs and Border Protection & ICE officers will leave downtown Portland.”
“Our local Oregon State Police officers will be downtown to protect Oregonians’ right to free speech and keep the peace,” Brown added. “Let’s center the Black Lives Matter movement’s demands for racial justice and police accountability. It’s time for bold action to reform police practices.”
Our local Oregon State Police officers will be downtown to protect Oregonians’ right to free speech and keep the peace. Let’s center the Black Lives Matter movement’s demands for racial justice and police accountability. It’s time for bold action to reform police practices.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) July 29, 2020
While Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf confirmed that a “joint plan” with Brown had been made, his statement and timeline differ. Wolf said in a press release that the city will increase “presence of Oregon State Police” in the downtown area and “state and local law enforcement will begin securing properties and streets,” particularly around federal properties.
According to Wolf, federal law enforcement will remain for the time being. (RELATED: Media Downplays Ongoing Violence In Portland, Claims ‘Right-Wing’ Outlets Are Playing Up The Unrest)
“The Department will continue to maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked and that the seat of justice in Portland will remain secure,” Wolf said. “This has been our mission and objective since the violent, criminal activity began.”
Wolf expanded on the plan during a press call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. He said that violent protesters have used explosives, including IEDs, and noted that there is a difference between them and non-violent protesters.
In an effort to stop violence, Oregon State Police and local police will now work to secure streets around Portland’s Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, Wolf confirmed. This is a change from how things have operated for the past two months in the city.
All federal troops will remain in Portland “until we are assured that Oregon State Police and the plan the governor put in place are successful,” Wolf said.
“No other city in the country has refused to work with federal law enforcement like Portland has,” Wolf added. “I’m glad they have seen the error of their ways.”
The acting DHS secretary reiterated that all officers will remain in Portland. He told reporters that he had not read Brown’s tweets, but had been informed on some of them.
“I haven’t seen all of her tweets … I’ve been informed of a couple of them,” he said. “Whether they’re staged inside the courthouse or next door, I’m not going to get into that. If there’s any indication that we have the same level of violence that we have in past nights … DHS will again be there to protect that federal courthouse.”
Brown appeared to alter her original statement shortly after her tweet, saying that U.S. agents will start a “phased withdrawal” from the city, according to the Associated Press.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon governor: US agents to begin ‘phased withdrawal’ from Portland following clashes with protesters.
— Jill Colvin (@colvinj) July 29, 2020
Wolf later said in the press briefing that Vice President Mike Pence brought up the city and asked for help during a weekly COVID-19 call.
“The vice president called me immediately and that’s when I got engaged as well,” Wolf said. “Our force posture in Portland remains as it has been …and we will remain there until we see the plan is working … They’re there today and will remain there until” the violence ends.
The White House confirmed Wolf’s statement, telling the Daily Caller that federal officers will remain.
“As the President and Secretary Wolf have both made clear, federal law enforcement officers will not leave until the seat of justice in Portland is secure,” White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews said.
Earlier this week @Mike_Pence informed Gov. Kate Brown that federal law enforcement will remain in Portland until violence directed toward them & the federal courthouse is brought to an end by state & local authorities. @VP was very clear that law & order must be restored in PDX. https://t.co/aTF7v6mbx4
— Devin O’Malley (@VPPressSec) July 29, 2020
The Portland courthouse has been the target of nightly attacks by protesters and rioters. Reporters for the Daily Caller spent multiple nights on the ground in the city and saw the courthouse and federal officers attacked by fireworks, glass bottles, rocks, lasers and more.
City officials have disagreed with the decision to deploy federal troops to Portland. The officers have repeatedly indicated over the loudspeaker in Portland that they will not leave the courthouse to deploy crowd control munitions if it is not under attack, but protesters and rioters have consistently made attempts to break down fencing around the structure.
White House correspondent Christian Datoc contributed to this report.