Graham Backs Masked Federal Agents Sent By Trump To Arrest And Assault Protesters

Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsay Graham

Photo by Gage Skidmore licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) praised Donald Trump for sending federal law enforcement agents in full tactical military gear into Portland, Oregon, saying Trump "is right to demand that law and order be restored in American cities."

"These protests and riots are getting out of hand, jeopardizing public safety and economic recovery," Graham tweeted Monday afternoon. "If federal law enforcement officials are necessary to do the job and President Trump chooses to go down this path, I completely support him."

Federal agents, dressed in camouflage, have been firing off tear gas and even abducting peaceful protesters off the streets in unmarked vans — leading to an uproar about federal overreach.

Oregon officials are demanding the federal agents leave the city, saying their actions are inciting unrest.

But Graham is siding with Trump, who he had just golfed with on Saturday in Virginia.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf defended his actions, saying they were necessary to fight a "violent mob" in Portland.

However, a statement from DHS released Thursday as well as a series of tweets from Wolf mostly pointed to incidents of graffiti on buildings.

Wolf doubled down on having unmarked federal law enforcement police American cities on Fox News Monday morning: "I don't need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors to do our job. We're going to do that, whether they like us there or not."

Trump, for his part, said he's happy about the job federal agents have done in Portland, saying he wants to expand the presence of federal law enforcement in other cities.

"We're going to have more federal law enforcement that I can tell you," Trump said Monday at the White House. "In Portland, they've done a fantastic job. They've been there three days, and they really have done a fantastic job in a really short period of time, no problem. They grab 'em, a lot of people in jail."

Trump mentioned New York and Chicago as other cities where he may send federal law enforcement agents.

Trump thinks his law-and-order message could help him in his quest for a second term.

But polls show that his message isn't working.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Sunday found voters trust presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden more than Trump on handling "crime and safety" by a margin of 50 percent to 41 percent.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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