Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Friday refused to explain why she has condemned “armed white supremacists” but not Antifa after an explosion of violence in Portland, telling reporters that her primary goal centers around “eradicating racism.”
Following the fatal shooting of Trump supporter Aaron J. Danielson at the hands of a self-identified member of Antifa, Brown released a statement condemning “right-wing vigilantes” and “armed white supremacists” for the escalation of violence in Portland. She did not mention Antifa in her condemnatory statement, prompting questions.
“We’ve had some viewers ask why your anti-violence statement this week about ongoing unrest in Portland mentioned white supremacy but did not also include mention of groups like Antifa and other bad actors. Why was that?” a reporter asked Brown at the close of Friday’s press briefing.
The governor refused to answer the question directly, telling the reporter that she is focused on building a “better Oregon” by “eradicating racism”:
So the first question is why did I specifically hold out white supremacist organizations? Because my goal, my vision for a future Oregon is to build a better Oregon where everyone can thrive and that means eradicating racism. And so my understanding of these organizations is they’re based on hate and I think it makes it really difficult for us to build what Dr. King would call a beloved community.
“Just to follow up would you plan to address issues with Antifa as well?” the reporter pressed.
Again, Brown refused to provide an explanation as to why she did not explicitly reprimand Antifa in her Sunday statement and did not use the opportunity to condemn the group.
“We will continue to work with the community to make sure that folks understand that our goal here is to stop the violence directed toward property, to stop the arson, and obviously stop the person-to-person violence that’s happening, yes,” she responded.
In her controversial Sunday statement, Brown stated that “the right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight.”
She added that she would “not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.”
“Time and again, from Charlottesville to Kenosha to Portland, we have seen the tragic outcome when armed right-wing vigilantes take matters into their own hands,” she continued. “Gun violence is never, ever the answer.”
The man who was under investigation for Danielson’s murder, Michael Forest Reinoehl — who described himself as “100% Antifa” — was shot and killed late Thursday evening after an encounter with the U.S. Marshals Service. As the New York Times reported, “An arrest warrant for murder had been obtained by the Portland police through the Circuit Court in Multnomah County, Ore., earlier Thursday, on the same day that Vice News published an interview with Mr. Reinoehl in which he appeared to admit to the Aug. 29 shooting, saying, ‘I had no choice.’”
According to a U.S. Marshals Service statement, Reinoehl reportedly “produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers.”
“Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene,” the statement added.
Attorney General William Barr (R) released a statement following the altercation with Reinoehl.
“The tracking down of Reinoehl — a dangerous fugitive, admitted Antifa member, and suspected murderer — is a significant accomplishment in the ongoing effort to restore law and order to Portland and other cities,” he stated on Friday, lauding the “outstanding cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement, particularly the fugitive task force team that located Reinoehl and prevented him from escaping justice.”
“The streets of our cities are safer with this violent agitator removed, and the actions that led to his location are an unmistakable demonstration that the United States will be governed by law, not violent mobs,” he added.