Wolf Says Portland Officials Foster Violence Among Protesters

President Donald Trump’s nominee to head theDepartment of Homeland Security blamed local officials in Portland and other cities for an “environment of lawlessness and chaos” that’s led to fatal shootings as America’s ideological divide clashes.

“We need them to step up, and if they can’t or they don’t have the ability or the resources, ask the federal government,” Chad Wolf, the acting DHS director, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“We’ll provide those resources, as we’ve done in Wisconsin and in others, so that we can address any violence, any violence across the spectrum,” Wolf said.

A man wearing a hat with the logo of a right-wing group was shot and killed in Portland Saturday night after hundreds of pro-Trump supporters clashed with those protesting the shootings of Black men and women by police.

Last week, a white 17-year-old who’d attended a Trump rally earlier in the year and posted on social media in support of police was accused of shooting three people, two fatally, during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Demonstrations have spread across the U.S. following the killing in May of George Floyd by Minnesota police, and protest has grown with other incidents, including the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. While most protests have been peaceful, tensions have grown with damaged buildings and physical altercations. Democrats have accused Trump of fomenting violence as part of his re-election campaign call for law and order.

“We are not safe in Donald Trump’s America,” Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat who ran for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, said on ABC’s “This Week,” citing recent increases in hate crimes.

Wolf said investigators were looking into video from Kenosha that showed the 17-year-old, Kyle Rittenhouse, walking by police while holding a rifle with hands up, as bystanders called out that he had just shot people.

Wolf wouldn’t comment on the discrepancy of a white person with a weapon getting a pass from police, but said state and local authorities need to do more.

”If the governor had taken action early on, after day one, day two of some of that violent activity occurring there, a lot of this could have been avoided,” Wolf said on “This Week.”

Asked whether Trump would send in National Guard troops even without local requests, Wolf said “all options continue to be on the table.”

Wolf, acting DHS director since November, has come under fire for his department’s use of what protesters have described as excessively violent force to quell demonstrations.

Trump announced Aug. 25 that he would formally nominate Wolf after the Government Accountability Office released a report saying that Wolf was ineligible to serve in his roles in an acting capacity.

@realDonaldTrump

I am pleased to inform the American Public that Acting Secretary Chad Wolf will be nominated to be the Secretary of Homeland Security. Chad has done an outstanding job and we greatly appreciate his service!6:30 PM · Aug 25, 2020

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Wolf was named in a lawsuit against Trump by a group of Black Lives Matters protesters from Portland who said federal law enforcement officers used indiscriminate violence against them while they were participating in a lawful demonstration.

The protesters said they were shot in the head and body with impact munitions and pepper balls, sprayed in the face with pepper spray, and shoved to the ground and beaten with batons.

Wolf has also been criticized for his appearance at last week’s Republican National Convention, where he performed a naturalization ceremony that also featured Trump. Democrats called it an “an unprecedented politicization of the naturalization ceremony.”

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