On Monday, President Donald Trump seized on Columbus Day-related arson in Portland, citing two main campaign themes: one, his mantra of fair democrats of aggression and disorder, and the other, an appeal to his supporters with the notion that white identity is under threat.
Protesters in Portland on Sunday night ripped down statues of US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, shattered the windows of a number of local businesses, and vandalized buildings, police said. In the wake of months of violent demonstrations, it was a comparatively modest downtown gathering that promoters called the “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage.”
Mr. Trump has repeatedly protested against Democratic-led cities where demonstrations have taken place, accusing Democrats of fomenting and tolerating crime. Portland — more than any other city, and were riots and sporadic unrest has been going on for more than four months — has been Mr. Trump’s rallying cry for this narrative and a regular focus of his tweets.
Tweets between 7:30 a.m. And 8:00 a.m. Monday, Mr. Trump protested against the overthrow of the monuments in Portland, insisting that law enforcement officers “put these animals in prison today.”
“Portland, call in the Feds!” he wrote in one tweet.
“These are Biden fools. ANTIFA RADICALS. Get the FBI, and get them now!” he wrote.
On Monday, Portland police announced they had arrested three people in connexion with the attack, which they described as a “riot.” Police in Portland has frequently interpreted such protests as riots, as crowds have scattered with the police while demanding social justice and police reform following the death of George Floyd, an innocent Black man, while in detention with the Minneapolis police.
The crowd in Portland on Sunday night, measured at its largest point by the police to draw 300 people, was comparatively small compared to Portland standards. The affiliations of the people who had demolished the sculptures remain unknown. Police said they arrested Malik Muhamad, 23, from Portland; Justin Bowen, 25, from Portland; and Brandon Bartells, 38, from Washington.
The Facebook page, which appears to belong to Mr. Muhammad, associates him with the anti-fascist movement and features messages condemning both Mr. Trump and the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. It’s also related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Neither of them replied to calls for feedback.
Derek Carmon, the spokesperson for the Portland Police Office, refused to confirm Mr. Trump’s claims regarding the policy of the suspected offenders.