PORTLAND, Oregon — During the first presidential debate of 2020 on Tuesday night, there were multiple mentions of Portland, including the local law enforcement.
After debate moderator Chris Wallace asked the candidates about race issues in America, President Trump brought up the support of one specific official:
"I have Portland; the sheriff just came out today and said, 'I support President Trump.'"
There is no sheriff of Portland, but Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese tweeted soon after the president's televised comment, saying he has never supported and will never support President Trump.
Reese went on to say Trump has made his job a lot harder since he started talking about Portland.
"We're trying to do everything we can to keep our communities safe," Reese said in an interview Wednesday. "To build community support for the work we're doing, and to address the racial and ethnic disparities that exist in our criminal justice system."
KGW reached out to the other two sheriffs of the tri-county Portland metro area.
A spokesperson for Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett sent the following statement:
"Sheriff Garrett has not endorsed President Trump and does not intend on making any national endorsement. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is a nonpartisan office and is focused on serving the Washington County Community."
A spokesperson for Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said, "Sheriff Roberts has not made any national endorsement."
However, a law enforcement labor group, The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), did announce unanimous endorsement of Trump. That included Oregon's membership.
Oregon State FOP president, state police detective Roger Edwards, ran unsuccessfully for Clackamas County sheriff this year. He told KGW he was working and not available for an interview on Wednesday.
After mentioning the sheriff, Trump continued by asking Democratic candidate Joe Biden why he won't talk about law enforcement and referred to what's happening in Portland as a "fire."
"Why don’t you say the words law enforcement," he asked. "Because if they called us in Portland, we would put out that fire in a half an hour but they won’t do it because they’re run by radical left Democrats."