Oregon Democrat Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are demanding a full investigation of “the unrequested presence and violent actions of federal forces in Portland.” Law-abiding Oregon citizens are not their primary concern. Neither is the safety of federal personnel trying to protect federal property. These pitiful excuses for public servants, along with other congressional Democrats, are all torn up about the welfare of the rioters who have committed unprovoked assaults on federal enforcement officers standing their ground on federal premises. They pretend not to understand the fundamental difference between constitutionally-protected peaceful assembly and mob violence.
“Oregonians’ demand for answers about this occupying army and its paramilitary assaults in Portland at the direction of Donald Trump and Chad Wolf [Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary] cannot be stonewalled,” Wyden said. “That’s not how it works in a democracy,” Wyden added.
Wrong, Senator Wyden. The real “occupying army” consists of the mobs who have occupied the streets of Portland for more than 50 nights, spreading chaos and destruction. Law-abiding Oregonian citizens are entitled to know why their own state and local police are not protecting their personal security and property.
The United States is a constitutional republic, not a pure democracy. The people rule through their elected representatives, with institutional protections for individuals and minorities from the tyranny of the majority.
The Founding Fathers detested mob rule. “Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint,” Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers, No. 15. “The very idea of the power and the right of the People to establish Government presupposes the duty of every Individual to obey the established Government,” said George Washington in his presidential farewell address.
The rampaging mobs today, who are toppling statues of the Founding Fathers along with their other acts of destruction and violence, are proving the wisdom of the Founding Fathers’ warnings about mob rule. If our established government’s law enforcement agencies are prevented from constraining the mobs, chaos will prevail.
Senator Wyden wants to know, in his words, “under what constitutional authority” the federal “expeditionary force is in Portland.” Once again, Wyden is showing his ineptitude.
An “expeditionary force” is defined in Macmillan Dictionary as “a group of soldiers who go to fight in a foreign country.” Federal law enforcement officers guarding federal facilities attacked by rioters in an American city hardly fit this definition. However, if the rioters get their way, with the acquiescence or complicity of cowardly politicians like Wyden and Markey, we might as well be living in a foreign socialist country.
As for President Trump’s authority to deploy federal law enforcement officers to protect federal property, Congress has exercised its own constitutional legislative powers in delegating such authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Secretary in turn acts under the president’s direction. Wyden should review 40 U.S. Code § 1315, pursuant to which the Secretary of Homeland Security can designate law enforcement personnel for the purposes of protecting property owned or occupied by the Federal Government and persons on that property. These officers may “make arrests without a warrant” under certain circumstances and “conduct investigations, on and off the property in question, of offenses that may have been committed against property owned or occupied by the Federal Government or persons on the property.”
As Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany noted during Tuesday’s White House briefing, “when a federal courthouse is being lit on fire, commercial fireworks being shot at it, being shot at the officers, I think that that falls pretty well within the limits of 40 U.S. Code 1315. Under the law, we believe that agents can conduct investigations of crimes committed against federal property or federal officers. And in the case where you have someone shooting off a commercial-grade firework and then running across the street, we don’t believe that that extends past our jurisdiction.”
The latest surge of violence in Portland began on May 29, 2020, four days after the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. Rioters that day broke a front window at the federal Hatfield Courthouse in Portland and vandalized it. DHS has chronicled the escalating acts of destruction and aggression against federal personnel on federal property during the ensuing days and weeks. Physical assaults of federal law enforcement officers defending federal property have occurred multiple times, including one officer hit with blows from a hammer, the throwing of dangerous objects at federal officers, attempting to cause eye damage to officers with commercial grade lasers, and launching mortar style fireworks toward the entrance of the federal courthouse building. The rioters also doxxed members of federal law enforcement, exposing private information that could put the officers’ families in danger. These rioters are not harmless graffiti artists. They are well-organized mobs who have crossed over the line into insurrection.
The violence occurred primarily during the late-night, early-morning hours, not during daytime peaceful protests. Journalist Andy Ngo, who has experienced firsthand Antifa’s violence, has compiled eye-opening photos and videos of the ongoing mayhem which appear on Mr. Ngo’s twitter feed.
President Trump has statutory authority under the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty military troops to quell riots of the type we have been witnessing in Portland and other cities. The Democratic-controlled House, true to form, passed a bill placing severe limitations on this authority, even though the president has shown great restraint to date by not invoking the Insurrection Act. He is using his separate statutory authority to deploy federal law enforcement officers to protect federal property and personnel.
Instead of speaking out against the rioters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insulted the law enforcement officers trying to keep the rioters at bay and prevent them from burning down a federal courthouse. She referred to the officers as “storm troopers.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “The United States of America should not have secret police.” Senator Wyden tweeted that he and Senator Merkley are demanding passage of legislation “to block the Trump administration from sending paramilitary forces into cities nationwide.”