(CNSNews.com) - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) told “MSNBC Live” on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s decision to send in federal agents to quell the violence from protests in Portland is meant to distract from his “failure to lead” in the national response to the coronavirus.
“There’s absolutely no question that the president’s failure to lead in national response to this global pandemic, that the activities, the sending law enforcement officials on to the streets of Portland is a distraction from his failure to lead. There’s absolutely no question that this was about scoring political points with his base,” she said.
Brown accused acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolfe of staging a photo op when he came to Portland and not bothering to clean the graffiti off of the federal courthouse for weeks.
“When the secretary came into Portland, he brought a Fox News team with him for a photo opportunity. They left the graffiti on the building, the federal courthouse for weeks. They could have cleaned it off several weeks ago. This is all about politics. It’s about political theater. It’s clearly not about public safety nor about problem solving,” she said.
When asked whether she was concerned about the protests before the federal invention, Brown said, “Look, two things happening. One peaceful protests across not just Portland but communities across the entire state of Oregon. I applaud these protesters. They are issuing a clarion call to end racial discrimination in the state and in this country. I join in the chorus of that call.
“We certainly had some violent folks, property destruction, absolutely unacceptable. Violence offers nothing, solves nothing, answers nothing, and frankly, the violence is a distraction from the critically important work that we are doing to tackle racism in our criminal justice system, in our health care system and certainly in our economy,” the governor said.
When asked whether she believes that Oregon has more “instigators” than other places and whether she knows who the people are, Brown accused Trump of escalating the violence by sending in federal troops.
“So, there’s absolutely no question that the protests were calming down and that the presence of federal troops here, Trump’s troops here in the streets of Portland has substantially exacerbated an already challenging situation,” the governor said.
“When I spoke to the secretary of Homeland Security last week, I told them to go home, that their forces are not needed here, they are not wanted here, and they're making a challenging situation worse. As I said, the violence is absolutely unacceptable. We're talking about outliers in terms of protesters, but in Oregon we solve problems by sitting down,” she said.
“We solve problems by deescalating a situation and engaging in dialogue. I know that’s what the mayor’s doing. I know that folks throughout the city are having those conversations about how we can bring the violence to an end, and unfortunately, President Trump and his administration are more interested in distracting from their failure to lead and ensuring that cities and situations like this escalate,” Brown said.
“This is about political points. It’s about political theater,” the governor added.
Brown said that a federal officer fired a “nonlethal bullet” at a man that nearly killed him, sending him to the hospital with a skull fracture. She said that actions like these are “a violation of our democratic principle.”
“The last time I checked the United States of America was a democracy not a dictatorship. Oregonians are outraged. We had 20 times the protesters last night. They want these Trump troops to go home. I agree. The elected leadership across the state is in full agreement. It is time for these Trump troops to go hope and focus their attention on other activities,” the governor added.