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Federal Agents in Portland Are Generating Unrest Elsewhere as Well

2020-07-27 00:24:58
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“Any other form of militarized assistance within our borders that would not be within our control or within the direct command of the Chicago Police Department would spell disaster,” she said in a letter to the president last week.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Sunday called the administration’s decision to send law enforcement agents to the state — a measure the administration has sought to distinguish from the agents sent to guard federal property in Portland — as “a bit suspect.”

“They have not provided the federal funding that was promised to Albuquerque for police and crime interventions,” she said in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” She said that the state would work with federal agents if they folded into existing efforts to address violent crime. But, she said, “If we’re going to incentivize unrest, then that’s something altogether different.”

Portland has been the epicenter of the most recent protests. After the initial mass demonstrations in the aftermath of Mr. Floyd’s death, protests in the city continued each night, although in smaller numbers. Police have said there was persistent vandalism, people pointing lasers at law enforcement agents, and protesters who threw objects such as commercial-grade fireworks at officers, including those protecting the federal courthouse.

Mr. Trump’s campaign has sought to capitalize on the unrest to reassure voters that he will bring an end to the turbulence. “If there is a danger for Democrats generically, it is if the Republicans are able to define them as being on the side of the anarchists in Portland,” said Scott Jennings, a veteran Republican strategist. But he said that Mr. Trump’s heated and broad-brush rhetoric has made the Republican cause harder. “The bottom line is it’s a situation that requires nuance and it’s a presidency that has not engaged in a lot of nuance.”

Democratic strategists and Biden officials expressed confidence that Mr. Trump’s attacks posed little immediate political risk even as street protests escalated. For one, they said, the president’s warning of a dark Democratic-run future is in stark dissonance with the reality that the unrest is happening under his own administration. They said the police issue was being treated by many voters as a distraction by Mr. Trump from his faltering coronavirus pandemic response and the struggling economy.

“No matter how many troops Donald Trump sends into American cities, it’s not going to distract them from their primary concern which is the coronavirus and their health,” said Jared Leopold, a Democratic strategist.

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