Wolf answers Portland mayor who told feds to 'stay inside' or 'leave' city: 'That's just not gonna happen'

Acting DHS secretary vows agents are 'not going to abdicate our mission' in riot-hit city

Acting Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf joined "Hannity" Thursday and expanded on his statement condemning what he described as a "siege" of Portland, Ore. by "lawless anarchists."

"Earlier this week, I called not only the mayor but the governor," Wolf told host Sean Hannity. "I offered DHS support to help them locally address the situation that's going on in Portland. And their only response was, 'Please pack up and go home.'

"And that's just not gonna happen on my watch," Wolf went on. "So we need to make sure that we're supporting our law enforcement officers here and making sure that they're going to continue to protect the federal courthouse here. That's what the DHS does. That's our mission. We're not going to abdicate our mission, our responsibilities."


On Tuesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted criticism of the Department of Homeland Security, decrying what he described as the "violence federal officers brought to our streets in recent days, and the life-threatening tactics [his] Wolf's agents use."

"The best thing they can do," Wheeler tweeted, "is stay inside their building, or leave Portland altogether."

On Thursday, Wolf responded with a statement reading, in part: “The city of Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city. Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it.”

Earlier this month, DHS deployed more than a half-dozen law enforcement agencies and departments to the city, with officers from the U.S. Marshals, the Federal Protective Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection rotating protection services in a bid to quell the violence and protect federal property -- a move opposed by local politicians.

Portland descended into chaos following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Local businesses have reported $23 million in losses due to looting and rioting in the downtown area, and rioters have been seen lighting mattresses on fire and setting off fireworks in the streets.

Protesters have also set up tents in the park near the federal courthouse and have barricaded streets to create their own autonomous zone, likened to the since-disbanded Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) in Seattle.

"Whatever the local leadership here is telling us, we're going to do our job. We're gonna do it professionally," Wolf said. "But we're not going to have these violent anarchists who show up about the same time every night for a series of hours and having that federal destruction to property."


The acting secretary added that local leaders should "publicly condemn what the violent anarchists are doing. And only then, I think, will police, local police and federal police get this under control.

"So what I'm asking all state and local leaders here in Portland, in Oregon, is [to] come out specifically and publicly condemn these violent anarchists, because otherwise you're creating an environment, you're fostering an environment that continues to breed this type of lawlessness."