Are Russian trolls meddling in the politics of ultra-liberal and overwhelmingly white Portland, Oregon?
The city’s mayor has asked the feds to investigate “suspicious” posts on his social media, according to the Portland Tribune.
“[B]ased on the nature of some posts to city social media accounts and Russian propaganda accounts made publicly available, I believe it may be likely that Portland Twitter and Facebook accounts may have been, or currently are, being used by foreign conspirators in an attempt to sow political discord in our local politics in Portland,” Wheeler wrote in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Wheeler, the scion of a family of timber barons, assumed office in 2017 after a brief career in banking and serving as the state’s treasurer.
Wheeler’s tenure has been tumultuous. Protestors repeatedly shut down Portland city council meetings after Portland police killed an unarmed black teen and after the deaths of homeless people who froze to death in a winter storm. Wheeler has at times hidden in a hotel room because protestors surrounded his home, where his wife and daughter were staying. He’s facing an ACLU lawsuit over his tactics in breaking up peaceful anti-Trump protests and a public records lawsuit over refusing to turn over plans for a homeless shelter.
Wheeler’s letter to the U.S. Department of Justice identified the “Kremlin” as a possible perpetrator and said that he was “concerned that foreign powers may be aiming their technological weapons at local politics,” which included “suspicious, repetitive engagements.”
It was unclear what the mayor was referring to as most of his social media posts receive little engagement.
Wheeler is the target of a popular Twitter parody account which purports to show his Google search history as it mocks his closet conservatism, unfamiliarity with the city’s culture and his struggles to manage the city’s homelessness crisis and mercurial city council allies.
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— Not Ted Wheeler Googling (@WheelerGoogling) December 26, 2017
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— Not Ted Wheeler Googling (@WheelerGoogling) March 18, 2018
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— Not Ted Wheeler Googling (@WheelerGoogling) March 23, 2018
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— Not Ted Wheeler Googling (@WheelerGoogling) April 12, 2018
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— Not Ted Wheeler Googling (@WheelerGoogling) June 30, 2017
Real Ted Wheeler account basically googling
— Reagan Knopp (@reaganknopp) January 30, 2018