The Trump administration wants to roll out a plan this week to send more federal troops into “Democrat-run cities,” like Chicago, Milwaukee, and Portland, according to an interview White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows gave Sunday night on Fox News.
Federal officials in the Department of Homeland Security developed the Protecting American Communities Task Force, or PACT, on July 1 in response to President Trump’s Executive Order on protecting monuments and statues. The task force is currently deployed in Portland, Oregon.
“You’ll see something rolled out this week, as we start to go in and make sure that the communities — whether it’s Chicago or Portland or Milwaukee or someplace across the heartland — we need to make sure their communities are safe,” Meadows said.
Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said there were “dozens if not hundreds of federal troops” in the city, adding that their “abhorrent” actions are against the law.
“They’re not wanted here. We haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave,” Wheeler said.
The executive order and PACT, according to an internal DHS memo obtained by The Nation, were in response to the toppling of the Hans Christian Heg statue in Madison and three other statues nationwide.
The George Washington and Thomas Jefferson statues in Portland, Oregon, and the Ulysses S. Grant statues in San Francisco were listed in addition to Heg in Madison as examples necessitating a PACT response.
Federal authorities with the Customs and Border Patrol were responsible for the kidnapping-style arrest made in Portland, OR on July 15. Customs and border patrol, the US Marshals Service and Federal Protective Service are also assisting PACT with ongoing civil unrest in cities nationwide.
The Portland arrest, as well as the wounding of a protester who federal agents shot in the head with an impact round, sparked calls for federal police to leave Portland. So far they have refused to leave.
Oregon senators and congressional representatives in called for the agents to leave Portland in a recent letter to both Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and US Attorney General William Barr, who oversees the Department of Justice.
The Portland Police Association building was briefly lit on fire Saturday amid escalating tensions between demonstrators and both Portland Police Bureau officers and PACT agents in the city.