Trump prepping to dispatch federal squads to more Democratic cities, warns Mark Meadows
The Trump administration is preparing to roll out a plan this week to send controversial military-style federal squads already in Portland into other cities, warned White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who only named locations with Democratic mayors.
Attorney General William Barr is “weighing in on that” with acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Meadows said Sunday on Fox News.
“You’ll see something rolled out this week, as we start to go in and make sure that the communities — whether it’s Chicago or Portland or Milwaukee or someplace across the heartland — we need to make sure their communities are safe,” he added.
All three cities named are run by Democrats.
President Donald Trump also indicated that federal squads would likely target cities run by the party that opposes him. He said on “Fox News Sunday” that “violence” was on the increase in “Democrat-run cities.”
“They are liberally run, they are stupidly run,” he added.
Meadows doubled down on a crackdown in the face of a wall of criticism after federal officers in military-style fatigues with no identification of their agency began roving downtown Portland, Oregon, in unmarked vans last week to snatch people off the streets. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blasted the squads Friday as “stormtroopers ... kidnapping protesters.”
Unidentified stormtroopers. Unmarked cars. Kidnapping protesters and causing severe injuries in response to graffiti.
These are not the actions of a democratic republic.@DHSgov’s actions in Portland undermine its mission.
Trump & his stormtroopers must be stopped.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 18, 2020
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed suit in U.S. District Court Friday calling for an injunction to stop the uninvited squads’ “kidnap and false arrest” of citizens in actions the suit said are clear violations of Americans’ First Amendment rights and constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure and loss of liberty.
The American Civil Liberties Union also sued DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service Friday, and U.S. lawmakers have called for an investigation. The ACLU has characterized the federal action in Portland as a constitutional crisis.
Chad Wolf has railed about “violent anarchists” in Portland, yet the concerns he lists on the DHS website consist mainly of “graffiti” and damaged fences. He tweeted selfies during a recent Portland visit posing with graffiti.
Mobilization of the squads is against the express wishes of local and state officials. As justification for their presence, federal authorities have cited a June 26 executive order by Trump directing them to protect federal monuments and buildings.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) has called the chilling federal troop crackdown “political theater” to provoke violence as part of a desperate reelection bid by Trump. In an indication that the squads are part of an election strategy, the Trump campaign retweeted a Fox News clip of Meadows with a message that the president stands against “radical mobs.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told NPR Sunday that while the protest situation had been tense in his city, it was quieting — until the federal squads moved in and “blew the lid off the whole thing.”
He said city and state officials tried to reason with Wolf but were told to “stuff it.”
With the federal squads, “they won’t even identify who they are,” Wheeler said. “We don’t know why they’re here. We don’t know the circumstances under which they’re making arrests. We don’t know what their policies are or what accountability mechanisms” they follow, he added.
Federal police strike protester with baton, use pepper spray and tear gas outside courthouse in Portland pic.twitter.com/VX2xTVaaYq
— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) July 19, 2020
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.