A US Senator from Louisiana has called on Mayor Ted Wheeler to "immediately resign." Yep, you read that right.
Senator Bill Cassidy introduced a resolution this morning criticizing Wheeler for the way he handled Portland's recent protest outside the Southwest Waterfront Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility. The resolution is co-sponsored by US Senator David Perdue from Georgia. Both men are Republicans.
"Whereas a mob of leftwing activists recently surrounded an ICE office in southwest Portland, Oregon, trapping ICE employees inside the building," the resolution reads. "Whereas the Mayor of Portland, Oregon, Ted Wheeler, barred the Portland Police Bureau from coming to the aid of ICE employees, stating, 'I do not want the @PortlandPolice to be engaged or sucked into a conflict, particularly from a Federal agency that I believe is on the wrong track . . . If they are looking for a bailout from this mayor, they are looking in the wrong place.'"
In conclusion, the resolution "calls on the Mayor of Portland, Oregon, Ted Wheeler, to immediately resign so that a leader committed to protecting all law-abiding citizens and public servants from harm can assume the duties of Mayor of Portland."
The demand comes less than a day after Donald Trump delivered a speech at the White House, where he called Wheeler's actions during the ICE occupation "shameful." According to Cassidy's office, the senator was working on the resolution before Trump spoke yesterday.
In his resolution, Cassidy lumps Wheeler in with two aspiring liberal politicos, New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—denouncing all leaders for opposing ICE.
While Wheeler did note—both during a city council session and on Twitter—that he wouldn't direct Portland Police Bureau officers to assist ICE during the weeks-long campout to protest immigrant family separations, he doesn't have the authority to "ban" police from responding to 911 calls at the ICE facility.
At the time, Wheeler spokesperson Michael Cox said that, "While the mayor can't give tactical direction to the police bureau, he has given strategic direction. His thinking is, 'This is a federal agency on federal property with its own law enforcement agency, and we don't need to get involved.'"
After the camp was eventually swept by PPB on orders from Chief Danielle Outlaw—the person who can give tactical directions—a lawyer representative the ICE officer union also chastised the city for "forbidding" officers to assist ICE employees. Outlaw rebuffed, saying that she instructed officers to "respond to all 911 calls around the Occupy ICE protest" and that officers responded to a total of 41 calls for service during the six-week campout.
“A politician deciding who gets help in an emergency based on politics is the kind of thing that happens in banana republics—not a democracy that ensures equal protection under the law,” said Cassidy in a press statement. “For Mayor Wheeler to abandon this principle along with people being threatened by a violent mob is unacceptable. He needs to resign immediately.”
Wheeler's only response thus far has been via a cryptic pair of tweets:
We want an administration that represents us.
We want a president that we can be proud of.
— Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) August 21, 2018