President Donald Trump on Thursday attacked the mayor of Portland, Oregon, as “pathetic,” after the mayor, Ted Wheeler (D), was tear-gassed by federal agents earlier this week.
“He wanted to be among the people, so he went into the crowd, and so they knocked the hell out of him, so that was the end of him,” Trump said. “So that was pretty pathetic.”
Authorized by Trump, unidentified federal agents have been tear-gassing protesters in Portland. There have been other reports of agents using excessive force, such as shoving protesters into unmarked vans.
Protesters have criticized Wheeler for not taking action against the local police’s violent response to the two months of anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests, which has included the use of tear gas.
He was booed when he spoke at a protest Wednesday night, attempting to show solidarity with the demonstrators by condemning “the Trump administration’s occupation of this city.” Wheeler later inhaled tear gas when federal agents descended upon the crowd.
“I’m not going to lie — it stings; it’s hard to breathe,” Wheeler told The New York Times. “And I can tell you with 100% honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response.”
“What I saw last night was powerful in many ways. I listened, heard, and stood with protesters,” he tweeted Thursday. “And I saw what it means when the federal government unleashes paramilitary forces against its own people.”
On Thursday, Trump claimed the protesters were “anarchists” who “hate our country.”
“In Portland, we had to do it because they are anarchists,” he said. “That is a level people haven’t seen. But they are anarchists. … So, we went in and we have been very, very strong.”
In June, he infamously ordered police to tear-gas protesters gathered near the White House, in order to make way for a staged photo of him holding a bible at a nearby church.