WASHINGTON, D.C. — Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf continued to hammer at Portland's public officials and "so-called experts" for their disastrous handling of the near-nightly riots that have been occurring for over 100 days.
Speaking at DHS' St. Elizabeth's campus for the annual State of the Homeland address, Wolf criticized how Portland politicians decided to score political points instead of trying to work with the federal agency to protect the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse from rioters.
The federal courthouse was reinforced by extra federal officers after it became a nightly target after rioters had been taking action against Portland Police Bureau precincts, which drew a larger response from rioters. Wolf noted how while the Federal Protective Service protects 9,000 locations across the country, it is often done in conjunction with local law enforcement.
"Unfortunately, this cooperation did not happen in Portland. This is a city where local leadership played partisan politics with public safety, allowing attempts of arson and violence against federal law enforcement officers, and the destruction of federal property to occur with impunity," Wolf said.
"For nearly two months, while defending the federal courthouse, our federal officers were assaulted with sledgehammers, commercial-grade fireworks, rocks, metal pipes, IEDs, and more. As Portland officials refused to cooperate with DHS, our law enforcement officers suffered over 240 separate injuries," he continued. "After 60 days of this violence, the Governor of Oregon finally offered the assistance of state law enforcement. To be clear, that offer should have happened on the 1st day of violence, not the 60th."
Wolf also criticized politicians and some in the media for trying to describe the violence as "mostly peaceful," with DHS being in complete support of protests that are actually peaceful.
"It has been disappointing to see so-called ‘experts’ criticize our response in Portland without knowing the facts on the ground. It’s unsettling that these self-appointed experts rush to criticize the uninformed men and women of DHS working to save lives and defend federal property, even before they condemn the violent behavior of a rioting mob," he added.