Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said federal agents in Portland “will not retreat” as violent protests continue in the city.
Wolf defended the Department of Homeland Security’s mission in Portland even as Democrats and city leaders demanded that the federal officers leave.
Federal officers’ role is crucial, Wolf said, especially since local law enforcement is still being regularly bombarded by angry and violent rioters.
“What is occurring in Portland in the early hours of every morning is not peaceful protesting,” Wolf said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“We have been forced because of local law enforcement presence to take measures such as arrests to protect our officials,” he added.
Rioters in the city need to know that they cannot get away with the violent destruction of property and repeated attempts to do bodily harm to men and women in uniform, Wolf said.
“While I look forward to the day that our officers are redeployed back to their regular day-to-day mission, we will not shrink from our duty because of this violence,” he added.
“If you are a violent rioter looking to inflict damage to federal property or law enforcement officers, you need to find another line of work … We will not retreat. We will continue to protect our facilities and our law enforcement officers.”
Democrats have been waging a “disgusting” smear campaign against federal officers who are just trying to do their jobs, Wolf said.
The officers are not misidentifying themselves, nor are they snatching people and throwing them into unmarked vehicles at random, he said.
They are “trained officers” who wear “insignia on their uniforms that read ‘police,’ and they have patches that indicate which agency they are from,” he explained.
“They are civilian police officers. These police officers are not stormtroopers,” Wolf said, and they will be “ready” to withdraw if — and only if — “the violence stops.”