Was Portland’s mayor right to blame the nation’s violent unrest on Trump?


Fact Box

  • Portland endured another chaotic 24 hours starting with a caravan of 600 Trump supporters driving through the city, and clashing with counter protesters. Fighting broke out between the groups, and a supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer was fatally shot.
  • Ted Wheeler, Portland’s mayor, called out Trump in press conference stating, “Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?....It's you who have created the hate and the division.”
  • After the death of George Floyd on May 25, protests have been sparking up around the United States in the form of Black Lives Matter protests, looting sprees, calls for police reform, and destructive demonstrations. 
  • Trump was elected president on November 8, 2016. He received the votes of more than 62 million Americans, the most a Republican candidate has ever received. His campaign slogan marks his goals for the presidency, “Make America Great Again.”
  • Donald Trump has claimed that he has made more progress for black Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln, mentioning the “unemployment rate, opportunity zones, and the First Step Act, while ignoring the actions of presidents like Harry Truman, who integrated the military, and Lyndon Johnson, who signed the Civil Rights Act into law.”

Stephanie (No

Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, was not right to criticize President Trump in his open letter, where he hypocritically claimed, 'There is no place for looting, arson, or vandalism in our city.' Yet, such violence has been occurring under Wheeler 'for about three months.' And the mayor has since denied Trump's assistance despite a man dying in a Portland protest on Saturday.

When lawlessness occurs, those in charge must make an honest attempt to protect their people; to do otherwise is dangerous. It encourages irresponsible leadership from other governors and mayors. Similarly, President Trump obviously would not have determined it necessary to send the National Guard to Portland if the situation did not warrant it.

It appears Wheeler denied the National Guard's assistance simply to prove an anti-Trump point. Department of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli cites the reason behind Wheeler's and other Democrats' non-compliance or denying the president's help is simply due to the fact 'that the president wants them to.' In Wheeler's 'no thanks' letter to Trump, he further demonstrates how those on the left have favored politically motivated protests even if doing so permits and perpetuates violence.

President Trump was not spreading 'politics of division and demagoguery,' as the mayor suggested, but was instead upholding his promise of 'law and order' to the American people. Additionally, in Portland, protests have been said to be divisive in themselves, especially the Black Lives Matter movement, which has even been referred to as 'racist.' Blaming any associated unrest is an inappropriate and incorrect shift of blame on to the president.

Tyler (Yes)

Trump has succeeded in thoroughly dividing our country during a time where unity is the clear, first step in solving our problems. Trump referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as a 'symbol of hate' and declared ANTIFA a terrorist organization. However, he failed to acknowledge the harm caused by right-wing extremist groups, which have killed 329 people over the past 25 years, including the 'Boogaloo Movement,' which was responsible for murdering police officers in California protests this summer. Trump's selective criticism can be traced back to the infamous 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacist rally that resulted in a death and 28 injuries, in which he claimed the protest featured 'fine people on both sides.' 

Trump clearly sided against those protesting against police brutality and systemic racism with his recent comments and actions directed toward protesters. Trump promised to veto a bill intended to remove the names of Confederate generals from U.S. military bases. After Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with the murder of two protesters, Trump liked a tweet saying Rittenhouse's actions are an example of why he will vote for Donald Trump in this coming election.

By repeatedly alienating Democrat politicians, Trump is making it clear he is not serving all United States citizens. Trump has referred to Democrat mayors as 'dummies,' 'incompetent,' and even retweeted a post saying 'politically, the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.' His interest lies in garnering attention and support from Republicans while doing everything in his power to humiliate the other half of the country he claims to serve.

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