“It’s egregious what’s happening,” Kayleigh McEnany said from the press podium today, as she stated numbers and statistics of officers who have been attacked by “peaceful” protestors. The White House Press Secretary gave legal defense for President Trump’s decision to send federal law enforcement officers into Portland, Oregon. While the Chicago Tribune reported that the DHS would send 150 law enforcement officials to Chicago, McEnany said, “I think you are getting ahead the president here. He’s made no announcements as to who’s going where.” But during her press briefing, she ensured that President Trump would do whatever in his power to restore order to cities who have seen weeks of unrest.
McEnany said the Homeland Security officials in Portland are protecting federal property, and despite outcries from the mayor and local officials, it is up to the president to uphold law and order. She said, “President Trump is taking action in Portland, even though you have a Democrat mayor and Democrat governor unwilling to work with us in the situation. We are surging resources along with secretary Wolf at DHS and augmenting the federal protective service to safeguard federal property.” McEnany said the president would not let Portland become the next CHOP, which was the autonomous zone in Seattle that finally had to be shutdown because of the violence, looting, and robberies.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been vocally opposed to President Trump’s offer to send in federal law enforcement to try and bring peace to a chaotic city. Lightfoot said, “What we do not need, and what will certainly make our community less safe is secret, federal agents deployed to Chicago. Any other form of militarized assistance within our borders that would not be within our control or within the direct command of the Chicago Police Department would spell disaster.” But even though the mayor does not want federal law enforcement officers, she cannot stop the administration from sending them to protect federal buildings.
When asked about the authority, McEnany cited 40 U.S. Code 1315, and explicitly described the use of bricks, chucks of concrete glass, bottles of feces, balloons filled with paint picks, and slingshots to hurl ball bearings and batteries at federal agents. She said that the enforcement officers have an insignia on their clothing, but putting them in full uniform would put them at a greater risk from the protestors.