House Majority Whip Clyburn on his comparison of federal agents in Portland to Nazi Gestapo

'Black Lives Matter will not ever ... burn down any buildings,' Clyburn says

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., denied on Sunday that he compared federal law enforcement in Portland to Nazi Germany’s Gestapo police force last month.

“I know myself a little bit. I don't know if I ever compared what they're doing to the Gestapo,” Clyburn told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday.

“It's right there in the transcript,” host Pete Hegseth responded.

“I said I don't think so,” Clyburn said. “Maybe I did. I'm never one to think I never can misspeak, but that is not to say that's not what I feel.”

“What I do feel – and I've said this – what I said seeing in Portland reminds me very much of what I saw in Anniston, Ala., back in the '60s, what I saw on the Edmund Pettus Bridge back in the '60s, where a state-sponsored and supported terrorism was visited upon people who were protesting peacefully.”

Hegseth interjected saying, “We all honor the peaceful protests of the 1960s.”

He then asked, “Are you comparing the violence against law enforcement today, which is clear and obvious, it's right there before all of us, and the defensive measures law enforcement have to take?

“Everyone's for peaceful protests,” Hegseth continued. “They're [rioters are] burning Bibles in Portland instead of holding them on the bridge like the peaceful protesters did in the 1960s. How do you make that comparison?”

“I don't know anything about burning Bibles,” Clyburn said in response. “Everybody's got their own religion and I knew the Koran, I know the Bible, both New and Old Testaments very well and so just because somebody may believe in the Koran that's their business so burning a Bible doesn't do anything about burning down a federal building.”

He added, “What federal building has been under threat? Who attempted to burn a federal building?”

Hegseth interjected saying, “It's been unfolding in Oregon.”

“With all due respect, congressman, you may be watching other networks,” Hegseth continued. “It's been fireworks, Molotov cocktails, explosions, attacks at officers night after night after night.”

He added, “Ultimately we've seen violence against law enforcement. We can't just deny it.”

HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP CLYBURN COMPARES FEDERAL AGENTS IN PORTLAND TO NAZI GESTAPO POLICE

Hegseth then asked, “Are they [federal agents] supposed to not defend themselves and defend federal property?”

“They do defend themselves and I do defend them as well,” Clyburn said in response. “But I don't defend pretenders.”

“We saw in Minneapolis a guy dressed up as if he were black, all in black, but knocking out windows,” he continued. “When they arrested him, when they found out, he was a White supremacist disguising himself. And that's what's going on all over.”

Clyburn’s exchange with Hegseth on Sunday was sparked over the congressman’s comment he made last month when CNN’s John Berman asked Clyburn what Democrats hope to find out after calling for an investigation into the way the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has handled recent lawlessness in the city.

Attorney Billy Williams and others expressed concerns after videos on social media appeared to show unlabeled officers in unmarked vehicles suddenly grab rioters off the streets, without appearing to identify themselves or read suspects their Miranda rights. Clyburn said he believes law enforcement should be left up to local communities, who would have access to federal help if they wanted it – but the current landscape reminds him of Nazi Germany.

“That kind of activity is the activity of a police state, and this president and this attorney general seem to be doing everything they possibly can to impose Gestapo activities in local communities, and that is what I have been warning about for a long time,” Clyburn said. “I do believe that this election is all about the preservation of the greatest democracy that this country has ever known.”

Speaking on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday, the morning after protestors – some of whom appeared to impersonate press – threw glass bottles and shined lasers at city police officers sent to quell the nighttime unrest in the Portland, Clyburn said, “I've seen these movements.”

“I was in these movements back in the '60s … and I can tell you we never rioted, but there was rioting going on,” he continued. “‘Burn, baby, burn’ was not us, somebody else, insurgents came in, pretenders came in … in order to subvert the movement and that's what's going on here.”

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He went on to say, “Black Lives Matter will not ever, the people connected to that, won't burn down any buildings, but the people who are trying to incite stuff, the pretenders, not protesters, but pretenders will do anything.”

Fox News’ Brian Flood and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.