Portland shooting: Trump calls Ted Wheeler 'fool', Mayor hits back saying 'you created the hate and division'
The two leaders engaged in a real-time argument following the shooting of a right-wing supporter in violent clashes on August 29
President Donald Trump has found an opponent in yet another Democratic mayor and this time, it is Ted Wheeler of Portland. On Sunday, August 30, the two leaders engaged in a real-time fight after the president posted a series of tweets lambasting Wheeler as the latter was addressing a press conference about the fatal shooting of a right-wing supporter in the Oregon city on Saturday, August 29.
Portland, which has been witnessing unrest for more than three months since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, has seen the chaos getting fuelled by the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, more recently. It was during the current protests that a caravan featuring 600 vehicles carrying Trump’s supporters driving through Portland faced resistance from the counter-protesters and soon skirmishes broke out. Around 15 minutes after the caravan left the city, a man named Jay Bishop who claimed to be a supporter of right-wing group Patriot Prayer got shot.
Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson identified the deceased as Aaron “Jay” Danielson. He called the victim a “good friend,” but gave no details. Danielson also apparently went by the name Jay Bishop, as per Patriot Prayer’s Facebook page.
Trump soon brought the focus on the issue as it sparked massive political outrage. He called Wheeler a “weak and pathetic mayor” while retweeting a post from Brian Dean Wright, a former CIA officer and a conservative Democrat.
A weak and pathetic Democrat Mayor!!! https://t.co/dehIDMwgul— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2020
He also retweeted a post from his ally Amy Kremer who posted pictures of slain Bishop and slammed Antifa for his murder. “Rest In Peace Jay!” Trump said in the tweet.
The president also slammed the Democrats in general and his presidential opponent for this year’s election Joe Biden in relation to the shooting that killed Bishop in other tweets. While he said "strength" was the way to deal with violence in the "high-crime Democrat-run cities", he mocked Biden saying the latter will retreat into his basement soon. Trump has been attacking the former vice president's campaign from the residential basement in Delaware in the times of the coronavirus pandemic. He also targeted the Democrat asking why was he not speaking up against "Anarchists, Thugs & Agitators in ANTIFA?"
The only way you will stop the violence in the high crime Democrat run cities is through strength!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2020
Rushing him out of basement after seeing some very disturbing numbers. Don’t worry, he’ll go back to basement soon! https://t.co/CEMq5xowQt— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2020
When is Slow Joe Biden going to criticize the Anarchists, Thugs & Agitators in ANTIFA? When is he going to suggest bringing up the National Guard in BADLY RUN & Crime Infested Democrat Cities & States? Remember, he can’t lose the Crazy Bernie Super Liberal vote!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2020
After the shooting, the president shared a video of his supporters driving into Portland and called those in Saturday’s caravan “GREAT PATRIOTS!”
But Wheeler was not one to stay mum after hearing Trump’s attack. After the president called him a “fool” in a tweet and accused him of allowing violence to grow in Portland, the former blasted him while taking his name in front of the media.
The big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected after 95 days of watching and incompetent Mayor admit that he has no idea what he is doing. The people of Portland won’t put up with no safety any longer.The Mayor is a FOOL. Bring in the National Guard! https://t.co/bM6ypak94t— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2020
“That’s classic Trump. Mr. President, how can you think that a comment like that, if you’re watching this, is in any way helpful? It’s an aggressive stance, it is not collaborative. I certainly reached out, I believe in a collaborative manner, by saying earlier that you need to do your part and I need to do my part and then we both need to be held accountable,” Wheeler said.
Mayor Ted Wheeler to Trump: "You've tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history and now, you want me to stop the violence that you helped create. What America needs is for you to be stopped so that we can come back together as one America."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 30, 2020
“Let’s work together. Wouldn’t that be a message? Donald Trump and Ted Wheeler working together to help move this country forward. Why don’t we try that for a change?”
Wheeler accuses Trump of creating hate and division
Wheeler, who turned 58 on Monday, August 31, also brought a serious allegation against Trump saying it is him who has created “hate and division” in the country, making it witness such levels of violence in decades.
“It’s you who have created this level of hate and division. It is you who have not found a way to say the names of Black people killed by police officers even as people in law enforcement have. And it’s you who claimed white supremacists are good people. Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything that you've done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country,” Wheeler said, adding: “You’ve tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history,' Wheeler continued. 'And now you want me to stop the violence that you helped create.”
Portland has seen nearly 100 straight nights of Black Lives Matter protests and in many instances, the violence has led to destruction of federal and city properties, including police precincts and even the federal courthouse and City Hall. Last month, the president sent more than 100 federal agents from the homeland security department to protect the federal property but the move saw more backlash. Local protesters alleged the federal agents were picking up demonstrators in unmarked vehicles and driving off. Even Wheeler was hit with tear gas deployed by the agents. The federal forces were withdrawn in July end but small night-time protests continued in city pockets. More than 600 people have been arrested since late May.
On August 30, the local authorities in Portland appealed to people to stay away from the downtown in a bid to de-escalate the tension. A protest was planned in the eastern part of the city the same night. Wheeler urged those who wanted to come to Portland to “seek retribution” to stay away.
“If you’re from out of town and you’re reading something on social media — if you’re reading any facts on social media — they’re probably wrong because we don’t have all the facts yet. They are still assembling the facts. This is not the time to get hotheaded because you read something on Twitter that some guy made up in his mother’s basement,” the Democratic leader said.
Late on August 30, Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown released a detailed plan to address the violence in Portland while protecting free speech. She said the district attorney’s office in Multnomah County that includes Portland, will prosecute serious criminal offenses.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, however, blamed local officials for failing “to protect their communities.”