Federal law enforcement will retreat from Portland under terms negotiated with Oregon Governor Kate Brown — or so she says.
Brown used her announcement of the deal to frame the violent protests of the last two months as the fault of federal agents who have been in the city for just two weeks, claiming that “they have acted as an occupying force & brought violence.”
After my discussions with VP Pence and others, the federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland. They have acted as an occupying force & brought violence. Starting tomorrow, all Customs and Border Protection & ICE officers will leave downtown Portland.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) July 29, 2020
Never mind the fact that it was Portland rioters trying to occupy and burn down a federal courthouse during weeks of what might be charitably described as an unlawful assembly.
Under the deal, Brown claims protection of the federal courthouse building will be transferred to the Oregon State Police. However, Brown says their job will be to “protect Oregonians’ right to free speech and keep the peace,” as she endorsed “the Black Lives Matter movement’s demands.”
But the “deal” might not be as clear-cut as Brown makes it seem.
About an hour after the governor took to Twitter to announce the Feds’ retreat, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf more or less completely contradicted her.
As I told the Governor yesterday, federal law enforcement will remain in Portland until the violent activity toward our federal facilities ends. We are not removing any law enforcement while our facilities and law enforcement remain under attack.
— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 29, 2020
Wolf tweeted that “federal law enforcement will remain in Portland until the violent activity toward our federal facilities ends.” And reiterated that the White House will not order the removal of “any law enforcement while our facilities and law enforcement remain under attack.”
In fact, Wolf framed the agreement quite differently than Brown did. As he put it, “The state of Oregon is finally agreeing to cooperate with our federal forces–exactly what we asked for since the nightly violence broke out two months ago.”
Plus: “We’re glad Oregon is now correcting their months-long error.”
Clearly, either Brown is exaggerating what she got the Feds to agree to do, or Wolf is understating Washington’s end of the bargain.
If federal agents leave while the courthouse is still under attack, we’ll know Wolf is lying. If the feds stay, we’ll know that Brown is the liar.
For what it’s worth, my money is on the feds staying right where they are for as long as the “mostly peaceful” riots continue, and for as long as the federal courthouse is in danger.