Acting Deputy Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli on Wednesday said that “reality is going to catch up” to local officials in Portland, who he says have failed to get a grip on continuing violence in the liberal city.
“The first responsibility in these communities is state and local for policing but we’re seeing Portland intentionally not and wilfully not police to the extent needed to stop the violence,” he said on Varney and Co.
Cuccinelli’s comments come after Acting Secretary Chad Wolf wrote to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler urging the Democrat to request federal assistance after months of riots that have hit the city since the death of George Floyd.
“I urge you to prioritize public safety and to request federal assistance to restore law and order in Portland,” Wolf wrote in the letter dated Aug. 31. “We are standing by to support Portland. At the same time, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that there will come a point, when state and local officials fail to protect its citizens from violence, the federal government will have no choice but to protect our American citizens.”
Portland has seen over three months of nightly violent protests, much of it centered on the federal Hatfield Courthouse. Local officials have opposed federal intervention by DHS and calls by President Trump for them to deploy the National Guard.
Asked if he had received a response from Wheeler, Cuccinelli made a joking reference to the recent protests outside Wheeler’s apartment: “We have not yet, he’s probably busy picking out real estate agents.”
“Reality is going to catch up at some point, they've got to start doing the right thing,” he said. “You have a governor who has over 7,800 National Guardsmen at her disposal – she hasn’t used one of them.”
“Even Mayor Wheeler asked Gov. [Kate] Brown to bring in the National Guard in June but he comes out and defends violence and defends Antifa and the anarchists even as they attack his own condominium complex,” he said.
According to DHS, as of July 31, local law enforcement has made 255 arrests and declared 23 riots and unlawful assemblies.
Fox News' Jake Gibson contributed to this report.