Portland, Oregon has taken center stage in the ongoing nationwide protests and riots following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody earlier this year.
While the majority of protests since Floyd’s death May 25 have been nonviolent, and peaceful protest is protected under the First Amendment, “fringe elements” like antifa have been blamed by some in Portland’s black community for causing senseless violence, the Associated Press reported.
The Portland Police Department declared that the protests in the past week have turned into a riot after crowds marched to the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse, USA Today reported. Police reported instances of rocks, glass bottles and even homemade explosives being thrown at the courthouse. Parts of the fence surrounding the courthouse were also torn down as rioters tried to enter the premises.
Attorney General William Barr said during a Tuesday hearing before the House Judiciary Committee that violence in Portland endangered law enforcement and even injured several federal marshals. (RELATED: Trump Tells Oregon Gov. Kate Brown To Clear Out Protesters Or He ‘Will Do It For Her’)
We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2020
The demonstrable evidence of violence and mass destruction being carried out in Portland by rioters has not deterred the left’s latest gaslighting efforts to minimize the situation or shift the blame.
Social justice groups have downplayed the riots by claiming that the situation is being exaggerated by conservatives for political purposes, The Washington Post reported. Oregon Justice Resource Center attorney Juan Chavez, who provides protesters legal representation, claimed that the protests were being turned into “a right-wing boogeyman.”
Democratic New York Rep. Jerry Nadler told political commentator Austen Fletcher that antifa violence in Portland is a myth, in a video released Monday. (RELATED: Rep. Jodey Arrington Rips Jerry Nadler, Democratic Party Leadership On Portland Response)
“It is true, there’s violence across the whole country, do you disavow the violence from antifa that’s happening in Portland now?” Fletcher asked Nadler. “That’s, that’s, that’s a myth that’s being spread only in Washington D.C.,” Nadler responded.
Nadler is also Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and oversaw Barr’s hearing Tuesday. The Attorney General lambasted Democrats for downplaying the riots during his remarks. “Federal courts are under attack. Since when is it ok to try to burn down a federal court?” Barr said. “Is that ok now?”
Democratic Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal has also minimized the riots. During a CNN appearance earlier this week Jayapal referred to the riots as “some protesters at some building in Portland.”
Another gaslighting attempt by the left has been to shift the blame to President Donald Trump and federal law enforcement officials sent to disperse violent riots.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi referred to federal officers as “stormtroopers” and accused them of “kidnapping protesters” in a tweet July 17. Pelosi also downplayed the riots by claiming that federal action was “in response to graffiti.”
Unidentified stormtroopers. Unmarked cars. Kidnapping protesters and causing severe injuries in response to graffiti.
These are not the actions of a democratic republic.@DHSgov’s actions in Portland undermine its mission.
Trump & his stormtroopers must be stopped.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 18, 2020
Pelosi doubled down on her comments in an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC, where she also called Barr a “blob” and referred to him as Trump’s “henchman.” (RELATED: Sen. Tom Cotton: Denying Antifa Is In Portland Is Like ‘Denying There Were American Tanks In Baghdad’)
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn continued with the Nazi references during a CNN appearance July 20, where he accused the Trump administration of “doing everything they possibly can to impose Gestapo activities” in Portland, Fox News reported.
Democrat Representative Jim Clyburn Compares Federal Law Enforcement To Nazi Germany Gestapo pic.twitter.com/fkEHUDuyQb
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) July 20, 2020
Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti referred to the situation unfolding in Portland as “the best of our democratic ideals” in a tweet July 23. While peaceful protest is certainly a democratic ideal, the mayor’s statement minimizes the fact that law enforcement is responding to the violent rioters that attacked a federal courthouse.
Demonstrators for racial justice represent the best of our democratic ideals. The President’s unilateral deployment of federal forces betrays them — and does nothing to keep us safe.
L.A. stands with our friends in Portland.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) July 23, 2020
Some Democrats have responded to the protests with more nuance. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden said in a speech Tuesday that “arsonists and anarchists” should face legal prosecution. Biden did blame Trump later in the speech for “intentionally stoking the flames of division and racism.”
Full @JoeBiden response calling for “arsonists and anarchists” to be prosecuted for the violence/destruction occurring at some protests. Says Trump is “stoking division and chaos” because “his campaign is failing and he is looking for a political lifeline.” pic.twitter.com/D3ScPq1Y9x
— Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) July 28, 2020