'Can we call it fascism yet?' Columnist tears into Trump for federal raids on protesters
Department of Homeland Security agents in Portland (DHS photo via Twitter)

On Monday, writing for The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg slammed President Donald Trump's administration over the federal agents seizing protesters in Portland, Oregon, asking "can we call it fascism yet?"

"According to a lawsuit filed by Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, on Friday, federal agents “have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland, detain protesters, and place them into the officers’ unmarked vehicles” since at least last Tuesday," wrote Goldberg. "The protesters are neither arrested nor told why they’re being held. There’s no way to know the affiliation of all the agents — they’ve been wearing military fatigues with patches that just say 'Police' — but The Times reported that some of them are part of a specialized Border Patrol group 'that normally is tasked with investigating drug smuggling organizations.'"

Border Patrol officials have admitted these units are being deployed against protesters, but deny there are any illegal arrests.

"There’s something particularly terrifying in the use of Border Patrol agents against American dissidents," wrote Goldberg. "After the attack on protesters near the White House last month, the military pushed back on Trump’s attempts to turn it against the citizenry. Police officers in many cities are willing to brutalize demonstrators, but they’re under local control. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, however, is under federal authority, has leadership that’s fanatically devoted to Trump and is saturated with far-right politics."

"Through the Trump years, there’s been a debate about whether the president’s authoritarianism is tempered by his incompetence," concluded Goldberg. "But all too often the White House has persevered, deforming American life until what once seemed like worst-case scenarios become the status quo. Trump has already established that his allies, like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, are above the law. What happens now will tell us how many of us are below it."

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