President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the federal government would not leave Portland, Oregon, until the city was secured.
“They either clean out their city and do it right, or we’re going to have to do it for them,” Trump said.
The president spoke to reporters as he left the White House for a trip to Texas.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced Wednesday that they had reached an agreement with the federal government for a “phased withdrawal” of federal agents from Portland.
But Trump said that if Democrats failed to secure the city, the federal government would act.
“If they don’t secure their city soon, we have no choice — we’re going to have to go in and clean it out,” he said. “We’ll do it very easily. We’re all prepared to do it.”
Portland has become a focal point of the president’s determination to combat violent rioters with federal law enforcement officials.
Attorney General Bill Barr on Tuesday defended the use of federal officers to protect and defend a federal courthouse in the city, during a hearing with House Democrats.
“What unfolds nightly around the courthouse cannot reasonably be called a protest; it is, by any objective measure, an assault on the government of the United States,” Barr said.
Federal officers have arrested or detained at least 60 people near Portland since the riots began, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney for Oregon Craig Gabriel on Saturday.