Trump's DHS Chief Piles Pressure on Portland Mayor to Call in Feds Over Unrest

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf has written to the Mayor of Portland urging him to take measures to ensure public safety in the Oregon city amid ongoing protests.

Wolf wrote to Mayor Ted Wheeler in a letter sent Monday and obtained by Fox News. This appears to be a reply to a message Wheeler sent to President Donald Trump on 28 August.

Wolf's letter points to the 255 arrests local law enforcement have made in Portland since 31 July, as well as 23 riots or unlawful assemblies.

"Despite this you have stood by passively, arguing that the nightly violence 'will ultimately burn itself out.' The evidence demonstrates otherwise. The chaos, destruction, and suffering in Portland are evils you can stop—and must stop.

"Consider what happened recently in Wisconsin—where the State of Wisconsin requested and received federal law enforcement assistance and the violence and looting there ended. Accordingly, I urge you to prioritize public safety and to request federal assistance to restore law and order in Portland.

"We are standing by to support Portland. At the same time, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that there will come a point when state and local officials fail to protect its citizens from violence, the federal government will have no choice but to protect our American citizens," Wolf wrote.

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf
Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf speaks during a press conference on the actions taken by Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security agents in Portland during continued protests at the US Customs and Border Patrol headquarters on July 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. Wolf has urged Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to do more to ensure public safety. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Mayor Wheeler's earlier letter to President Trump rejected the offer of federal assistance and criticized what Wheeler called his "politics of division and demagoguery."

"We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic," Wheeler wrote.

"And we know you've reached the conclusion that images of violence or vandalism are your only ticket to re-election."

Wheeler also told the president to "Stay the hell out of the way," echoing recent comments from Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, who has asked Trump to reconsider his Tuesday visit to Kenosha.

"I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state," Evers wrote in a letter to the president.

"I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together," he said.