Portland Mayor, Who Blamed Trump for Unrest, Vows to Get Tough With Antifa

Following rioting on New Year's Eve Thursday, Portland, Oregon Mayor Ted Wheeler expressed a desire to enforce stricter penalties on repeat offenders who commit violent acts and vandalize property.

In a press conference on Friday, Wheeler attributed the rioting on New Year's Eve to "violent antifa and anarchists" who broke windows, spray-painted, and caused thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Mayor Wheeler, city officials speak after riot declared on New Year's Eve MORE :...

Wheeler said he was working with District Attorney Mike Schmidt to hold those involved accountable for their actions, saying that his office was looking to prosecute those involved in rioting. He also laid out three points that he believes will help put an end to violent actions that had affected the city.

The first point is having law enforcement partners at all levels "convene with me to develop clear plans to address anarchist violence" in Portland and throughout Oregon.

The mayor's second point called on the legislature to "increase penalties for people who repeatedly engage in criminal destruction and vandalism to ensure that they can be held accountable for the cumulative impact of their illegal actions."

Wheeler's final point called for public service to be required of those involved in damaging businesses and show the damages that had been caused by their actions. "I believe people convicted of criminal destruction should be required to meet with the employees and owners of the businesses that they damage. These people need to hear and understand the social and human consequences of their irresponsible actions," he said.

Earlier in the press conference, the mayor had expressed a desire to help young men reform, after they're held accountable and take responsibility for their actions.

"Despite everything that I've seen over the last year, I still believe in redemption. These young-ish men can find a better path. I believe that they can lend their hands working with, rather than against our community," he said.

Wheeler called for stricter actions to crack down on preventing future damages and criminal behavior. "Lawlessness and anarchy come at great expense and with great risk to the future of our community. It's time to push back harder against those who are set on destroying our community and to take more risks in fighting lawlessness," he said.

During protests over the summer, Wheeler was critical of President Donald Trump's decision to send federal troops to Portland. In an August letter to Trump that he tweeted, Wheeler said the president's action "made the situation far worse."

Newsweek reached out to the mayor's office for comment.

Portland Protest Ted Wheeler
Portland police confront demonstrators in front of the Federal courthouse on September 26, 2020 in downtown Portland, Oregon. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty