Ted Wheeler blames Antifa for Portland's NYE riot, months after accusing Donald Trump of 'creating hate'
The Democratic mayor came under criticism from conservative quarters after he conceded that his de-escalation efforts have been met with radical Antifa scorn
Months ago, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler found himself at odds with President Donald Trump over the growing violence in the city. As race riots escalated in Oregon City, causing massive destruction and chaos, the Democrat exchanged words with the president who he blamed for the violence. He accused Trump of sowing seeds of hate and division and the president hit back at him calling him a Radical Left who allowed the lawlessness to continue.
While that was in August, Wheeler’s stance saw a sea change in January. In a press conference on the New Year Day, the mayor lashed out at Antifa following the riots that wreaked havoc in Portland on New Year’s Eve. "My good faith efforts at de-escalation had been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists. In response, it will be necessary to use additional tools and to push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end," Wheeler said in his address. "Lawlessness and anarchy come at great expense and with great risk to the future of our community," he added.
Wheeler also said that he is now at a point when he plans to “push back” against those who are “set on destroying our community”. “In closing, once again, I condemn anyone who engages in violence or criminal destruction no matter their ideology," the 58-year-old, who took over as the 53rd mayor of Portland four years ago, said.
Protesters clashed with the police in the city on Thursday night, December 31, during a demonstration that the cops called a riot. The Portland Police Bureau declared the protest as a riot shortly before midnight, citing 10.50 pm, local CBS affiliate KOIN reported. The police responded within half an hour and the protesters targeted them with fireworks. The law-keepers responded with pepper balls, rubber bullets and less-lethal munition, the KOIN report added.
NEW YEAR’S EVE DESTRUCTION: Capitol Hill biz owners and neighbors are fed up with black bloc marchers wrecking the city. The owner of Cafe Argento says they’re being targeted for just trying to improve the neighborhood.— Jonathan Choe Journalist KOMO News (@choeshow) January 2, 2021
Story 6pm @komonews #seattle #CalAndersonPark pic.twitter.com/WF7pDQL68b
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese spoke on the New Year Eve’s riots where Antifa wanted to destroy Portland’s Justice Center that houses Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) Central Precinct, its headquarters and the Multnomah County Detention Center — one of the county’s twin jails. "I want to start out by saying the violence last night was criminal and reprehensible," he said.
According to Townhall news outlet, when Reese came at the Justice Center around 10.30 pm, he saw “a fire at Second and Main, store windows that had been broken in and out, and debris filling the street in front of the central precinct, where it was apparent the building itself had come under attack”. “Antifa thugs attempted to break into the Justice Center but were unsuccessful. Instead, they reverted to launching commercial rockets and a Molotov cocktail into the building," Reese explained. Federal police attempted to help out but they also “came under attack”, the news outlet added.
“It was absolutely criminal in nature what was occurring in the streets. And, even though a riot had been declared and people were ordered to disperse, it didn’t appear anyone heeded that direction. We had to try and escalate and move back but we came under attack,” Reese was quoted as saying.
Wheeler accused of turning blind eye to Antifa rioting
The conservative outlet then slammed Wheeler saying the mayor has “continually turned a blind eye” to the fact that Antifa has been rioting in Portland for many years. It mentioned the attack that Antifa supporters carried out on conservative reporter Andy Ngo in Portland in June 2019. Ngo was hit with milkshake and was hospitalized. The Townhall report said Antifa was not condemned by anyone on the Left despite the fact that Ngo, an openly gay reporter, was attacked during the pride month.
In September last year, Wheeler asked Portland cops to stop using tear gas to control crowds in an effort to change policing styles. "During the last 100 days, Portland, Multnomah County and state police have all relied on CS gas where there's a threat to life safety. We need something different and we need it now," Wheeler, who himself was tear-gassed by federal agents in late last July while guarding a downtown federal courthouse during a protest, said. On the occasion, he also shouted “Black Lives Matter” and pumped his fist in the air.
Ngo, too, tweeted about Wheeler’s press conference saying he admitted that “his efforts to de-escalate & compromise with antifa have failed to yield results". He also tweeted Reese’s press conference.
In his new year's presser, Portland Mayor @tedwheeler admits that his efforts to de-escalate & compromise with antifa have failed to yield results. He condemns the violent extremist movement by name & calls for more to be done. https://t.co/1MJhHOxO1u pic.twitter.com/HtsSSM3dzz— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) January 2, 2021
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese spoke about the new year's eve riot in downtown Portland where antifa ransacked and looted businesses, started fires, assaulted responding law enforcement, and tried to break into the Justice Center. pic.twitter.com/1iutoyagup— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) January 2, 2021
It also spoke about the incident that happened a few months later when Antifa members were found yelling at the Portland cops and asking them to commit suicide. “Last year, more cops died in the line of duty. It's because you all know you're a parasite. Your job is morally and ethically bankrupt. You know you're a parasite so shoot yourselves. Shoot yourselves! Suicide is the only way out!” one of the Antifa members yelled.
Townhall then took a dig at Wheeler saying: “Let's see if anything actually changes or if Wheeler is full of hot air.”