Donald Trump in the White House
Donald Trump in the White House
Photo Credit: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump Defends Deploying Federal Agents to Portland Protests

Federal officers detained protesters without explaining why they were being arrested.

Last week, protesters in Portland, Oregon continued demonstrating against racism and police brutality. In a controversial response, Donald Trump deployed federal agents to the city. The officers arrived in unmarked cars, detaining protesters without formally arresting them, nor giving an explanation for their arrest.

Oregon lawmakers have widely criticized the move, calling the decision "authoritarian tactics." On Friday, Oregon's Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr calling for the immediate removal of the agents.

On Monday, Donald Trump defended his actions on Twitter.

"We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it," he wrote. "Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. They are missing in action. We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE. These were not merely protesters, these are the real deal!"

Portland residents have protested on a nightly basis for 47 days since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In a statement, Department of Homeland Security acting secretary Chad Wolf described the city as "under seige by a violent mob."

Oregon Public Broadcasting has reported that the officers come from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and Customs and Border Protection's BORTAC. Trump and Wolf claim the move is to protect federal property, however OPB interviews show that the officers have detained residents who aren't near federal property or engaging in criminal activity. Two demonstrators said they think they were targeted for wearing black clothing near the demonstration.