Editorial: Trump’s true intentions for the federal troops in cities


The ISD Editorial Board analyzes Trump’s infiltration of unwanted federal troops in Portland. 

Editorial Board

Portland, Oregon; Chicago; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Kansas City, Missouri; and Seattle are all in the spotlight for being the latest targets of Trump’s “law and order” regime. He has ordered hundreds of unmarked federal troops to “surge” city streets “plagued by violent crime.” Trump even said the situation is “worse than Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, politicians in these cities are fighting for the removal of these federal agents, some even joining in the protests. However, it’s important to evaluate the true intentions and outcomes of federal troops infiltrating cities. 

One recurring red flag is that local politicians are routinely calling for Trump to remove federal agents from their streets. The mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, stated, “Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents.”

Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, was tear gassed after speaking at a protest to remove the feds as well. The Kansas City mayor has also expressed concerns over the abrupt plan to send in troops. The fact that local politicians, who are dealing firsthand with their cities’ conflicts, do not want federal agents in their streets raises questions about Trump’s motives and reasoning.

It is also vital to understand Trump views these cities as violent and in need of order, yet the overall crime rate in Chicago has decreased by 9 percent since 2019. Portland’s crime rates have been steady, even decreasing, from January to June 2020.

Seattle’s crime rates follow a similar trend as Portland’s, and June 2020 has had the lowest crime rates for the month of June in over 12 years. This contradicts Trump’s main argument, that these cities are violent and in need of sudden order, questioning Trump’s true motive behind sending in troops, especially in the wake of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movements.

More worrisome still is the agents hail from several federal agencies that don’t seem to have a connection to this type of situation, such as Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI hostage rescue teams and even the Transportation Security Administration.

What could justify sending these types of agents into a city for crowd control? They are not trained for demonstrations, and throwing them into situations they are not trained for only risks more violence, which Trump supports with his vow to “dominate” protesters.

It should also be noted that these federal troops did little to deescalate Black Lives Matter and police brutality protests. After treating protesters illegally and causing more problems instead of working with local leaders, the Department of Justice inspector general will be conducting an investigation into the actions of the federal agents in Portland. 

Trump is sending federal troops to cities with no regard for citizens’ or local politicians’ safety or well-being in mind. His motives are inconsistent with his reasoning, which is false as well. His first priority as president should be the prosperity of his constituents, yet he has only managed to swiftly organize teams of agents to incite violence.

And for the cherry on top: he’s mobilized federal agents within days to eradicate a problem that’s debatably not there; what if his administration acted this quickly and forcefully to take care of COVID-19?

He has shown states’ rights can be superseded to further his political agenda, but not to mitigate the spread of a deadly pandemic that’s left no part of the country untouched.