DHS Chief Blames Portland 'Lawlessness, Chaos" on Local Democratic Leaders

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Portland, Oregon residents are facing "lawlessness and chaos," after another night of violent clashes turned deadly — a development he blamed on local Democratic leaders.

Wolf responded Sunday morning to the shooting death of one protester hours earlier in Portland after a large caravan of President Donald Trump's supporters clashed with Black Lives Matter and a coalition of opposition protesters in the streets. He reiterated the president's remarks that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Oregon Governor Kate Brown are not defending residents and property after three straight months of protests in the city.

Appearing on several TV news programs Sunday, Wolf repeatedly urged Wheeler and Brown to accept federal help, particularly the use of National Guard troops.

"When we talk about Portland, again, they continue to refuse any type of federal assistance to bring that violent activity, which has gone on for a little over 90 days now, to a close. The citizens of Portland want this, we need to bring some normalcy back to Portland. And if state and local officials won't do it, then they need to ask for assistance from the federal government," Wolf told ABC News' This Week host Jon Karl.

"We've been asking Portland to do their job really for over three months now," Wolf told CBS News' Face the Nation in a separate interview. "What you see in Portland is an environment, they foster an environment of this lawlessness and chaos."

"It's time to end the lawlessness and the chaos that we see in Portland," he added.

Wolf said Portland should follow the example set by some local leaders in Wisconsin, Minnesota and other scenes of violent clashes tied to racial unrest, where state National Guard troops were brought in to help quell looting and destruction of property.

On Saturday night, one man was shot and killed in downtown Portland about 15 minutes after the Trump supporter caravan left. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

ABC News host Karl asked Wolf what his advice to "apparent Trump supporters" seen in videos firing paint balls at opposition protesters in downtown Portland.

"My message to any individual, to any group, is if you're going to protest — it's your First Amendment right — please do that peacefully," Wolf replied. "Once you cross the line to violence, that is what's concerning to the Department of Homeland Security, that's what we're focused on is bringing any type of violence in any of our cities to a close."

Both Wheeler and Brown have pushed back against criticism from Trump and members of his administration over their handling of the ongoing protests, which were ignited after the May 25 police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Newsweek reached out to both offices for additional remarks Sunday morning, in addition to DHS offices in Washington.

Wheeler has maintained a level of solidarity with BLM protests but has also urged demonstrators to remain peaceful. But Trump has repeatedly described the Portland protests as a haven for "anarchists and agitators."

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Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Portland, Oregon residents are facing "lawlessness and chaos," after another night of violent clashes turned deadly - a development he blamed on local Democratic leaders. Screenshot: ABC News | Twitter
DHS Chief Blames Portland 'Lawlessness, Chaos" on Local Democratic Leaders | News