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- US Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, said Tuesday that President Trump's deployment of federal agents in Portland was intended "to create images of chaos for his own political gain — to air in campaign ads."
- Last month, Wyden told Business Insider that "what is happening in my hometown won't stop at my hometown." President Trump then announced deployments in cities such as Chicago and Albuquerque.
- Wyden also criticized the president for his focus on "anarchists."
- The real threat to Americans, Wyden argued, is posed "by the president and his enablers, who are calling peaceful protesters 'anarchists' and 'terrorists' and sending paramilitary forces into America's cities."
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President Donald Trump sent his "secret police" to Portland in order to spur the sort of violence that he is both campaigning on and against, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said Tuesday.
The Democratic senator made the comments during a Senate hearing on the federal use of force in Oregon's largest city, which included the indiscriminate use of tear gas and the use of "less-lethal" munitions that maimed protesters and journalists alike.
Wyden, the son of two refugees from Nazi Germany, attacked Trump for having "heavily armed secret police snatching Portlanders off the streets," saying the president did so "to create images of chaos for his own political gain — to air in campaign ads."
Last month, Wyden told Business Insider that "what is happening in my hometown won't stop at my hometown." Soon after, President Trump announced he was sending more federal agents to cities such as Albuquerque, New Mexico, where last week hundreds of people protested the deployment.
At Tuesday's committee hearing, Wyden argued that the Trump administration's rhetorical focus on "leftist anarchy" served only to deflect from the far more numerous "murders and vandalism committed by far-right domestic terrorists."
In a report released in June, the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that, over the past 25 years, the majority of terrorist attacks and plots "have come from the far right," as The Guardian's Jason Wilson reported. Attacks from far-left groups were negligible, according to the group, which noted that such agitation peaked in the mid-2000s.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, while criticizing the Trump administration's deployment of federal agents, has also said that "Arsonists and anarchists should be prosecuted," conflating criminality with political radicalism.
Such rhetoric only obscures the fact that acts of violence by anti-racist protesters are few and far between, Wyden said.
"This baseless talk of leftist anarchy also erased the work being done by all those who've stood up in peaceful protests to declare that Black Lives Matter," he said. The real threat to Americans, he continued, is posed "by the president and his enablers, who are calling peaceful protesters 'anarchists' and 'terrorists' and sending paramilitary forces into America's cities."
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