The debate over the beatdown of photojournalist Andy Ngo (among others) in Portland at the hands of Antifa is showing no signs of cooling down. While the lack of police presence and response remains of great concern, most of the focus now seems to be on Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. (Who is, conveniently enough, also the Police Commissioner.) Now another Ted, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, has been jumping into the debate. Earlier this week Cruz called for a federal investigation into Wheeler’s office along with the police to see how things went so wrong on Saturday.
That prompted Wheeler to attempt to defend himself on social media. It quickly escalated into an all-out fight on Twitter, which the Washington Times is referring to as The Battle of the Teds.
After Sen. Ted Cruz accused Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler of ordering police to permit attacks on citizens, the liberal Oregonian pushed back, insisting Tuesday that “I did no such thing.”
“Dear @TedCruz,” tweeted Mr. Wheeler. “At least get your facts straight. I ordered no such thing.”
He referred to the Texas Republican’s call Sunday for federal law enforcement to “investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists.”
Mr. Wheeler argued that the money for a federal investigation would be better spent elsewhere.
Wheeler’s initial response comes off as rather weak tea. He makes a flat denial of ordering the police to “stand down” but offers no other details or corroborating proof.
At least get your facts straight. I ordered no such thing.
Could you divert some of those investigation dollars to something that would actually benefit American cities? Infrastructure, affordable housing, mental health services come to mind. https://t.co/btI14p8fkJ
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) July 2, 2019
Cruz, for his part, fires back with some facts, but they apply more to the past than Saturday’s situation. Still, as he is clearly pointing out, there does seem to be a pattern to Wheeler’s actions.
Ok, Mr. Mayor. You want talk “facts.” Great. Fact 1: a conservative journalist was violently assaulted by ANTIFA thugs on the streets of your city. Fact 2: you said “I support the Portland Police Bureau’s decision not to intervene.” Fact 3: you have a pattern of withdrawing…1/2 https://t.co/xkQiJ7sPyl
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 2, 2019
2/2…police protection to further your political agenda. When ANTIFA terrorists threatened ICE in Portland, you ORDERED police not to protect federal agents. Here’s a US Senate resolution (which I joined) condemning your partisan civil rights violations: https://t.co/KQAN94Ssn0 https://t.co/lCp7KDjPCs
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 2, 2019
What might a federal investigation (or at least some FOIA requests from the media) turn up from Portland’s mayor’s office and police department? Cruz is referring to the debacle last October when the police were once again missing in action as both Antifa and Black Lives Matter blocked and diverted traffic and caused other disruptions. One video of attempted assaults on motorists clearly shows some police hanging back a block or two away where they could clearly see what was going on.
The events on Saturday were somewhat reminiscent of that. It was common knowledge that the Proud Boys were in town, and it quickly became equally obvious that Antifa was forming up their goon squad. How was there not a massive police presence mustered at that point? Wheeler says he is “appalled” by the violence and is going to “investigate.” But how much investigation does that question require? Once again… Ted Wheeler is the Police Commissioner in addition to being the Mayor.
Even if there wasn’t a specific “stand down” order issued, at a bare minimum, somebody failed to anticipate the obvious potential for more Antifa violence and dispatch the cops in force. Who was responsible for making that call? If it wasn’t the Police Commissioner (Ted Wheeler), then somebody else in the chain of command is responsible. Let’s hear from that person, preferably under oath.
If Ted Wheeler can’t keep citizens in his city safe, including journalists, he should step down. If this wasn’t his responsibility he needs to identify who messed up and take the appropriate action. And if this was some sort of “stand down” situation yet again, we need to know that as well.