It’s hard to understand where Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is coming from. At one point he said he wouldn’t talk to acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, and now he wants to negotiate what he calls a ceasefire.
Talking about himself and City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, Wheeler tweeted:
Commissioner @JoAnnPDX and I are calling for an immediate meeting with Department of Homeland Security leadership on the ground in Portland and with Acting Secretary @DHS_Wolf to discuss a cease-fire and the removal of heightened federal forces from Portland.
If the city of Portland is engaged in an armed conflict with the federal government, that’s news. It’s also news that the federal government is engaged in an armed conflict with any group in the U.S. Federal troops are stationed on federal property. If protesters don’t want to be in conflict with them, they can stop showing up at the federal courthouse each evening and then assaulting the federal authorities and damaging the property.
Wheeler’s statement also suggests he’s in a position to speak for some group, although it’s not clear who that might be. When Wheeler joined the protesters last weekend he was booed, shouted down, and people called for his resignation.
Instead of calling out federal authorities for performing a duty, Wheeler chose not to, protecting property and arresting criminals, the mayor might consider restoring law and order to his town.
Wheeler also signed a letter sent to Congress on Monday calling for legislation that would prohibit the use of federal officers in cities. That could be a great idea. Cities could post collateral valuable enough to cover any damage to federal property, and then federal officers could leave. When the “peaceful protesters” finished vandalizing, looting, and burning, the U.S. government could use the funds posted by cities to rebuild. This won’t help local business owners and other property owners, but they can address their issues at the ballot box.