Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, called Sunday for a federal investigation and charges against Portland, Oregon, mayor Ted Wheeler after an attack on a conservative journalist by antifa activists during one of the city’s frequent protests.
“To federal law enforcement: investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who has, for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists,” Mr. Cruz tweeted.
To federal law enforcement: investigate & bring legal action against a Mayor who has, for political reasons, ordered his police officers to let citizens be attacked by domestic terrorists. https://t.co/5xyCDARICl https://t.co/c0Tf3SsKEf
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 30, 2019
His blast came after a widely publicized attack Saturday on Andy Ngo, a right-leaning Portland journalist who has run afoul of antifa, or “anti-fascist,” activists by regularly recording their protest activity.
Mr. Ngo was treated at the hospital for bloody cuts and bruises to his face and neck after being mobbed by black-masked activists who grabbed his GoPro and pelted him with milkshakes and projectiles as he tried to walk away, as shown on video of the episode.
The episode drew fresh attention to Mr. Wheeler’s hands-off attitude toward protesters, including the mayor’s defense last year of police who allowed activists to block traffic and harass drivers during a spontaneous protest, an incident caught on camera by Mr. Ngo.
Mr. Cruz wasn’t the only one frustrated by the out-of-control protest activity that has roiled Portland since the 2016 election.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who like Mr. Ngo is openly gay, said he had asked the Justice Department to investigate the incident, tweeting, “This is outrageous. Where was Portland Mayor? @tedwheeler”
I have asked @TheJusticeDept to investigate this incident in Portland. I can’t just sit by and watch my friend be brutally attacked. https://t.co/vODiWktqIm
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) June 30, 2019
Portland State University professor Peter Boghossian called for impeaching Mr. Wheeler, saying he has allowed “street thugs to assault journalists, blockade hospitals, and pull pedestrians out of their cars.”
“His behavior is disgraceful and impeachment proceedings must begin immediately,” tweeted Mr. Boghossian.
It’s past time to #impeach #Portland #Mayor @tedwheeler. He’s allowing street thugs to assault journalists, blockade hospitals, and pull pedestrians out of their cars. His behavior is disgraceful and impeachment proceedings must begin immediately. @MrAndyNgo
— Peter Boghossian (@peterboghossian) June 30, 2019
Mr. Wheeler had no public comment Sunday on the melee, which saw hundreds of protesters take to the streets to counter a rally held by a few dozen right-wing activists with Proud Boys and Him Too. The counter-protest was organized by Portland Democratic Socialists of America and Rose City Antifa.
John Noonan, senior counselor for military and defense affairs for Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said Mr. Wheeler’s streets are “straight out of Mad Max Thunderdome. This is a giant, glaring failure of leadership.”
Republican National Committeewoman for California Harmeet K. Dhillon tweeted Saturday that Mr. Ngo had been admitted to the hospital overnight with a “brain bleed,” adding “you sick ‘journalists’ and other hacks gloating about this should be ashamed.”
Update to @MrAndyNgo supporters — he is being admitted to the hospital overnight as a result of a brain bleed. You sick “journalists” and other hacks gloating about this should be ashamed. As for the rest, please pray for @MrAndyNgo who we need back in health — brave man!🙏🙏🙏❤️ https://t.co/XYVy4EbIzv
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) June 30, 2019
The attack prompted a mixed reaction from the media, with some condemning the attack and others arguing that Mr. Ngo knew he was taking a risk by covering the event.
Slate writer Aymann Ismail tweeted that Mr. Ngo was guilty of helping “create an atmosphere of violence,” while the Human Rights Campaign’s Charlotte Clymer said Mr. Ngo “intentionally provokes people on the left to drive his content.”
Violence is completely wrong, and I find it sad and weak to allow a sniveling weasel like Andy Ngo to get under one’s skin like this, but I’m also not going to pretend that this wasn’t Ngo’s goal from the start. I mean… let’s cut the shit here. This is what they do.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) June 30, 2019
Portland police said the protest resulted in “multiple assaults” and arrested three protesters. There were numerous reports of activists throwing milkshakes, which police said appeared to be mixed with a quick-drying cement substance.
The three arrested were Gage Halupowski, 23, who was charged with assault on an officer; James K Stocks, 21, charged with harassment; and Maria C. Dehart, 23, charged with disorderly conduct and harassment.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper tweeted afterward, “Antifa regularly attacks journalists; it’s reprehensible,” while CNN media analyst Brian Stelter tweeted, “Disturbing. Attacking a messenger shows weakness, not strength.”
“His critics say he was there to cause trouble. But that’s unacceptable,” Mr. Stelter said Sunday on “Reliable Sources.” “The idea that he would be attacked, that he would be bloodied in that way — unacceptable. Period.”
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