The first debate for the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday was … a thing that happened. Case in point: In attempting to bolster his stance as a “Law & Order” president, Donald Trump said that “almost every law enforcement group in the United States” supports him, adding that even the sheriff of “Portland” endorsed him. Well, Portland does not have a sheriff, but it is in Multnomah County, which does have a sheriff. That law enforcement official immediately said he has not endorsed the president and never will.
“I have Florida,” said Trump. “I have Texas. I have Ohio. Excuse me–Portland. The sheriff just came out today, and he said, ‘I support President Trump.'”
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese says he will never support the president.
“In tonight’s presidential debate the President said the ‘Portland Sheriff’ supports him,” Reese said Tuesday. “As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him.”
Donald Trump has made my job a hell of a lot harder since he started talking about Portland, but I never thought he’d try to turn my wife against me! #PortlandSheriff #Debates2020 #DebateNight
— Mike Reese (@SheriffReese) September 30, 2020
During the Trump presidency, and especially in recent months, the Portland area has seen its share of clashes and tense stand-offs between left-wing and right-wing demonstrators as well as law enforcement. A regular presence are the Proud Boys, a self-described group of “western chauvinists.”
“Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center.
That group was mentioned during Tuesday’s debate. Trump was asked directly if he would condemn “white supremacists and militia groups” for violence, but he asserted that most of the violence he saw was from the left-wing.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden pushed him to condemn the right-wing groups. Trump asked for a name. Biden said Proud Boys.
“Proud boys,” Trump said. “Stand back and stand by.”
It wasn’t a condemnation. Members of the group met it with glee.
At one point during the debate, as the Trump campaign has highlighted, Trump put Biden on the spot and challenged him to name “one law enforcement group” that supported him. Biden did not, and moderator Chris Wallace shifted the line of questioning.
[Screengrab via NBC News]
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