Following a fatal shooting during continued protests in Portland on Saturday, mayor Ted Wheeler is begging president Donald Trump to cease his criticisms of the city’s current unrest, saying that the president is promoting division in his tweets.
During a news conference with the Portland Police on Sunday, Wheeler addressed a reporter’s question referencing Trump’s criticism of the mayor on Twitter, where the president referred to Wheeler as a “fool,” a “weak and pathetic Democrat Mayor,” and accused him of wanting the city’s “lawless situation” to go on forever. Wheeler, becoming frustrated with Trump’s words as they were read back to him, noted that “[Trump] has encouraged, or at least tacitly, approved of violence.”
“The president needs to reset, I need to reset,” Wheeler continued, referring to the situation for them to come together and denounce violence as an “olive branch opportunity.” “It’s going to take his leadership in the White House and it’s going to take my leadership here in City Hall to get it done,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler made a plea to Trump after the president thanked a pro-Trump rally group ahead of the weekend shooting. After three months of protests in the city, a shooting took place on Saturday night involving Trump supporters and anti-police protestors. It is unclear if the shooting was related to the protests, and law enforcement has not identified the man who was shot. On Saturday, a member of Patriot Prayer — a far-right white supremacist group — identified the deceased as Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who is also known as Jay Bishop.
According to local news stations, Trump supporters gathered in Portland for an event dubbed the “Trump 2020 Cruise Rally.” As the large group, which Police Chief Chuck Lovell dubbed a “caravan,” made their way towards downtown Portland, they came head-to-head with anti-racist protestors and physical altercation ensued between both groups.
Paintball guns and pepper spray were used in retaliation between both groups. According to videos circulated on social media, the shooting occurred after 8:45 p.m. and Portland Police confirmed that the victim had died roughly 45 minutes later, just before 9:30 p.m. Trump later tweeted his condolences to Danielson, who is still independently being identified as the shooting victim by social media, writing “Rest In Peace Jay!” on Sunday night.
Wheeler, during Sunday’s press conference, ended his time behind the podium by vowing to put the violence in Portland that occurred this past summer behind him and behind the city. He told reporters, referencing back to Trump’s instigating tweets, that “This would be a really good time for us to stand together, to lock arms, to denounce the violence, to make a commitment to the kind of changes and reforms that people in this country are demanding. […] 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?”
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