Trump threatens to activate National Guard against Portland 'professional anarchists'

Elizabeth Howe
July 31, 2020 - 10:38 am
Portland Protests

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President Donald Trump threatened to activate National Guard troops in Oregon to control "professional anarchists" protesting in Portland. 

Protests in response to racial injustice have continued in Oregon's capital for more than 60 days now despite the controversial federal law enforcement agents Trump sent to Portland a week ago. Now, Trump is threatening to send a different type of enforcements -- the National Guard. 

"We will send in the National Guard and we'll take care of it," Trump said at a White House briefing on Thursday. "These are professional agitators, these are professional anarchists, these are people that hate our country. We're telling them, right now, that we're coming in very soon -- the National Guard."

Both the governor of Oregon and the mayor of Portland have pushed back against Trump's involvement from Washington, D.C. According to Trump, they "don't know what they're doing."

Trump said he reached an agreement with Oregon's governor Kate Brown to stand federal law enforcement down to allow Portland's local law enforcement the opportunity to end the protests. They have just days to do so. 

"So they're working today and probably tomorrow to clean out this beehive of terrorists," Trump said. "And if they do it, I'm going to be very happy. And then, slowly, we can start to leave the city.  If they don't do it, we'll be sending in the National Guard."

At its peak, the National Guard had more than 40,000 troops activated in cities across the country in "civil unrest" capacities working to quell protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd. Those activations -- specifically in Washington, D.C. -- are still facing scrutiny. 

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

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Reach Elizabeth Howe on Twitter @ECBHowe.

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