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'Stay away, please': Mayor Wheeler writes open letter to President Trump

In a letter via email on Friday, Wheeler condemned President Trump's politics and declined his recurring offer to send federal enforcement to Portland.
Credit: AP
Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks to people gathered in downtown Portland, Ore., Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Wheeler faced a hostile crowd of protesters, who screamed at and sharply questioned him as he tried to rally demonstrators who have clashed repeatedly with federal agents sent in by President Donald Trump to quell ongoing unrest in the city. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

PORTLAND, Oregon — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler does not want federal law enforcement to return to Portland. He sent an open letter to President Trump via email on Friday, declining the president's recurring offer to send federal aid to the city.

"Dear President Trump," he wrote in the letter. "Yet again, you said you offered to aid Portland by sending in federal law enforcement to our city. On behalf of the City of Portland: No thanks."

Wheeler wrote that the president "made the situation far worse" when he sent federal officers to Portland in July.

"Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city," said the mayor. "In Portland, we are focused on coming together as a community to solve the serious challenges we face due to systemic racism, a global pandemic and an economic recession."

The letter comes after President Trump invoked Portland in his acceptance speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention. 

"The Republican Party condemns the rioting, looting, arson, and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities all, like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago, and New York, and many others, Democrat-run," said the president in his speech.

In his letter, Wheeler spoke in support of the peaceful protests and marches that have taken place in Portland.

"Tens of thousands of Portlanders have peacefully protested and marched for the noble cause of fixing our broken criminal justice system," the mayor sais. "They are part of the proud progressive tradition of Portlanders fighting for justice - from racial justice to economic justice to environmental justice."

He also condemned the violence that has taken place at some of the recent demonstrations.

"There is no place for looting, arson, or vandalism in our city," wrote Wheeler. "There is no room here for racist violence or those who wish to bring their ideology of hate into our community. Those who commit criminal acts will be apprehended and prosecuted under the law."

Wheeler denounced President Trump's politics "of division and demagoguery" and his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And he ended the letter with a straightforward statement to the president:

"Stay away, please."

Read Mayor Wheeler's full letter here

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