The leader of the free world is intentionally causing chaos in Portland to help his struggling 2020 re-election campaign, The Washington Post reported Friday.
The story, titled, "Operation Diligent Valor: Trump showcased federal power in Portland, making a culture war campaign pitch" was written by reporters Marissa J. Lang, Josh Dawsey, Devlin Barrett and Nick Miroff.
"As statues of Confederate generals, enslavers and other icons tumbled from their pedestals amid protests last month, President Trump issued an executive order meant to break the cascade," the newspaper reported. "It enlisted the Department of Homeland Security, created in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks to protect the country against external threats, to defend U.S. monuments and federal property against 'anarchists and left-wing extremists' who he said are advancing 'a fringe ideology.'"
"The order signaled Trump’s eagerness to mobilize federal power against the societal upheaval that has coursed through America since George Floyd’s death," the newspaper explained. "But Trump’s June 26 declaration came too late. The momentum of the protests was fading in many U.S. cities, and confrontations between federal authorities and civilians were becoming less frequent. Then Trump found Portland, according to administration and campaign officials."
"Sinking in the polls over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump seized a chance to appear as a field general in a wider American cultural conflict over racial justice, police misconduct and the reexamination of American history and monuments," the newspaper explained. "In Portland, he found a theater for his fight."
Trump has been closely monitoring the DHS response to protests.
"Trump has taken a keen interest in tactical operations against the protesters in recent weeks, according to White House and administration officials at the center of the response, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. When the fog of tear gas is thickest here in the wee hours of the morning, the president is sometimes up early on the other side of the country, calling Wolf for real-time updates from the front," the newspaper explained.
But it may all be backfiring on Trump.
"The scenes of militarized federal forces on the city’s streets have stunned many Americans and unnerved former Homeland Security officials, but they have not quieted the protests. In many ways, the agents and the barricades they have erected have re-energized the demonstrators and have converted the courthouse into a proxy for the Trump administration itself," the newspaper explained.
Read the full report.