As violence escalates during protests in Portland, Oregon, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Tuesday that President Trump must defend Americans when the state or local authorities fail to step in to help.
“At what point does the president of the United States have an obligation to defend innocent Americans whose city governments refuse to defend them?” Gingrich told “Fox & Friends.”
Portland moms and dads marched in droves Monday night, joining downtown protesters in a demonstration that would later swell overnight amid escalating tensions with feds in the city, according to multiple reports.
On the 54th night of demonstrations, the group of parents dressed in yellow and orange marched from the downtown waterfront to the Justice Center. The group reportedly set off to join with and protect protesters, who they said had been gassed or injured by federal officers.
“I found it wrong that the federal government was trying to come here and prevent people from protesting and exercising their right to assemble and protest,” mom Megan Kelly told Portland’s KATU.
Portland has experienced weeks of unrest following the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
President Trump has insisted that federal troops are needed to protect government assets in Portland, but the city’s mayor has called on Trump to remove federal agents sent there.
The city’s Democratic leadership has been criticized for its response. “The elected officials have condoned the destruction and chaos” in the city, said Daryl Turner, the head of the Portland Police Association, on Sunday.
Gingrich suggested that the president has to intervene in local violence under dire circumstances.
“If you had six or seven weeks of rioting in Portland, you have a left-wing mayor, a Democratic mayor who refuses to defend the American government’s courthouse, what’s the obligation of the president of the United States? Just let them burn down the courthouse or to go in and defend it?”
“I think the president ultimately has no choice except to defend federal property and, frankly, at some point especially to defend American citizens.”