- The Washington Times
Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The street violence erupting at Saturday’s protest in Portland has touched off 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.

“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,” he tweeted.

Mr. Cruz swung back Tuesday, pointing out that Mr. Wheeler, who is also the police commissioner, had directed police not to engage in last year’s lengthy protest at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Portland.

“When ANTIFA terrorists threatened ICE in Portland, you ORDERED police not to protect federal agents,” Mr. Cruz tweeted.

At an October press conference, Mr. Wheeler said that he stood by officers who allowed antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters to block traffic and hassle motorists during an impromptu protest.

A video of the Oct. 6 incident by journalist Andy Ngo showed protesters attempting to direct traffic—and chasing a driver who disobeyed their orders—while police on motorcycles watched from a block away.

“I was appalled by what I saw in the video, but I support the Portland Police Bureau’s decision not to intervene,” Mr. Wheeler told reporters at the time. “This whole incident will be investigated.”

On Monday, the mayor said that city officials would do “everything we can” to hold accountable those who committed assaults at Saturday’s protest, which saw hundreds of left-wing counter-protesters turn out against a right-wing rally that attracted a few dozen.

Police arrested three activists and said the protest resulted in “multiple assaults,” including a highly publicized attack on Mr. Ngo, a Quillette editor who was mobbed, beaten and pelted by black-masked activists, as shown in video posted by the Oregonian and others.

Mr. Ngo, a right-leaning journalist who regularly films Portland’s protest scene, said his GoPro was stolen, and that he was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage at the emergency room.

In a Monday interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, he said the assault took place “a literal stone’s throw away from Portland’s most important institutions of the rule law, the courthouses, the sheriff’s office, the central police precinct.”

As he tried to walk away, he was hit by what appeared to be eggs and a milkshake, which he said blinded him temporarily.

“And I was kicked some more, punched some more,” Mr. Ngo said in a transcript on RealClearPolitics. “And all this time I kept thinking, where are the police? I could still see the Multnomah County Justice Center in front of me, but no police ever arrived. I eventually stumbled away.”

He said a police medic treated him at the scene and directed him to an ambulance at the police precinct, which meant he had to “walk back in the direction of the demonstrators who just attacked me.”

The assault brought a mixed reaction on the left. While some denounced the incident, other media and political figures have suggested that Mr. Ngo provoked the attack with his reporting on the negative aspects of the street protests.

Mr. Wheeler called Saturday’s violence “unacceptable.”

“Over the weekend some chose to engage in violence in Portland, which is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Mr. Wheeler tweeted. “We stand against all forms of violence - regardless of someone’s political leanings.”

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