US President Donald Trump said he would send National Guard troops to quell chaotic protests in Portland, condemning activists there as a “beehive of terrorists,” as federal units deployed to the city prepare to withdraw.
Trump warned of a National Guard deployment during a Thursday press conference, one day after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) struck a deal with Oregon Governor Kate Brown to phase out federal police stationed in Portland, where they’ve worked with local authorities to defend a federal courthouse and other government property.
Though the withdrawal was set to begin on Thursday, the president said National Guard troops would effectively replace the federal agents should the unrest continue.
“Our people are staying there to see whether they can do it today and tomorrow, and if they don’t do it we will send in the National Guard, and we’ll take care of it,” Trump said, labeling the protesters “professional anarchists” and “people who hate our country.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has ordered National Guard troops to deploy in Atlanta, after rioters ransacked the state police headquarters.
Shootings in the city have doubled in the wake of protests against police brutality.
Some 1,000 soldiers will be deployed to protect the state Capitol, the governor’s mansion, and the Department of Public Safety building that was vandalized over the weekend, Kemp announced Monday.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” Kemp said. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”
Some 400 National Guard troops have been activated in the nation’s capital to protect historical monuments from vandalism, following a failed attempt by protesters to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson near the White House.
The guardsmen, who would be unarmed if deployed, were placed on standby Wednesday afternoon as heated demonstrations against police brutality and racism rage on around the country, driving calls for the removal of statues and monuments protesters see as celebrating slavery and other historical abuses.
“The District of Columbia National Guard has sent unarmed troops to guard monuments and other infrastructure in support of local law enforcement agencies,” said Craig Clapper, spokesperson for the DC National Guard.
Police in Los Angeles arrested a man who was reportedly “armed to the teeth” and attempting to impersonate National Guard soldiers, local media reports.
The man, arrested Tuesday morning in downtown Los Angeles, was identified as 31-year-old Gregory Wong.
“@FOXLA has learned that LAPD arrested 31 y/o Gregory Wong in DTLA this AM while dressed as/impersonating National Guard,” Fox LA reporter Bill Melugin wrote on social media. “He was armed to the teeth and was booked on assault weapons charges. LAPD says federal charges may come next. Sources confirm this photo.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden accused President Trump of calling for violence against Americans on Friday after he threatened to deploy the military and denounced “thugs” in Minneapolis amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd, with the president tweeting, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“I will not lift the President’s tweet. I will not give him that amplification. But he is calling for violence against American citizens during a moment of pain for so many. I’m furious, and you should be too,” Biden tweeted on Friday.
Protests rocked Minneapolis for the third night in a row on Thursday over the death of Floyd, an African American man who died earlier this week after a police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest. Floyd could be heard in the video recording of the incident saying “I can’t breathe.”
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Welcome to the New America™.
The third precinct goes up in flames on the third night of riots.
Trump said he’s going to send in the National Guard because “these THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen.”
I wonder if Kushner fed him that line.
On the flip side, I’m sure that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” was all Trump!
It appears the Nation Guard is on the scene.
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Facing what he claims is a shortage of ventilators which will leave New York State without the life-saving equipment in less than a week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he would sign an executive order allowing the state to seize ventilators from private companies and hospitals that aren’t using them in order to treat coronavirus patients in hard-hit areas.
Cuomo said he would direct the National Guard to take ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) from private companies as well as hospitals without large numbers of coronavirus cases. The entities will either have the equipment returned to them or will be reimbursed, the governor said.
“I understand they don’t want to give up their ventilators, ventilators are expensive pieces of equipment,” Cuomo told the press. “But I don’t have an option. And I’m not going to get into a situation where we know we are running out of ventilators and we have people dying because there are no ventilators.”
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Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe filmed his experience at the Glen Island Park COVID-19 drive-thru testing facility in New Rochelle, New York.
A New York National Guardsman and a medical professional both told O’Keefe the media is making the virus out to be worse than it actually is.
In the first encounter, O’Keefe asked, “What about the situation itself. Is it as bad as–the media is saying? The whole pandemic?”
“Oh no. It’s just, it’s the flu!” he responded.
“So, it’s not as bad as the media’s saying?” O’Keefe reiterated.
“No. I’m in the tents with them. I’m doing all this shit and I’m not getting sick, I’m good,” the National Guardsman answered.
A county judge says Texas National Guard troops will go door-to-door in Dallas neighborhoods to ask about coronavirus, as residents are under shelter-in-place orders to stay home during the outbreak.
According to NBC affiliate KXAN, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins claimed the troops would merely be conducting a “medical mission,” and not enforcing quarantine restrictions.
“Uh, it’s pretty serious when you know the national guard, the Texas National Guard that they’re heading out to neighborhoods in the Dallas area,” reported KXAN’s Sally Hernandez.
Judge Jenkins “said Texas National Guard troops would be on a ‘medical mission,’ and not there for law enforcement reasons. They would check in with people to see who may have come in contact with coronavirus patients,” KXAN reported Friday.