Rep. Collins: Portland mayor 'probably needs to step down' amid violence in city

Talia Kaplan | Fox News

“The mayor of Portland probably needs to step down because he is definitely not being a mayor, he’s just being a social commentator,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday, reacting to the violence in the city.

The Trump administration has enlisted federal agents, including the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group, to protect federal property.

The unrest had frustrated Mayor Ted Wheeler and other local authorities, who had said a small group of violent activists were drowning out the message of peaceful protesters. Wheeler also said the federal presence in Portland is now exacerbating the situation and has said he wants them to leave.

On Friday Wheeler said, “Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city."

“The words and actions from President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security have shown that this is an attack on our democracy,” Wheeler added.

On Sunday, host Griff Jenkins asked Collins, “Is it lawlessness and anarchy in the streets or is it an attack on democracy as the mayor says?”

“I'm not sure what the mayor actually understands democracy to be,” Collins said in response. “Riots and peaceful protests are two different things."

He noted that $23 million worth of property has been destroyed and there is "absolute chaos" in the streets.

“He doesn't understand the very basics of government and that government is there to keep and have in place a civil order so that people can feel safe in their communities,” Collins continued.

He went on to say that “there’s no way” Wheeler can “say to the people of Portland that you are safe and that you can go out and do the things that people of freedom under our law and civil order of government can do.”

“This is just disgraceful that a mayor would believe that anarchy … is actually normal,” Collins said.

He then noted that Wheeler shouldn’t be attacking President Trump for his “own failures.”

Collins had a message for Wheeler on Sunday, saying he should “look around your city.”

“It is burning because you are the mayor, you need to take responsibility,” Collins said. “The president is actually trying to help and DHS is trying to help because they're not going to turn a blind eye to those who want to wantonly destroy property.”

Wheeler did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Collins stressed that what is taking place in Portland “is not about civil protests,” but rather “about destruction and lawlessness.”

President Trump has denounced the demonstrations in Portland and Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf blasted the protesters as “lawless anarchists” in a visit to the city last week.

Collins also blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sunday for her failure to act on the violence in Portland and other cities across the country saying, “she lives in a bubble with her own security detail that goes with her everywhere.”

“She feels safe wherever she goes and she just assumes the rest of the world is OK,” Collins said.

“These are not civil protesters. Maybe she needs to have an eye exam on Monday instead of coming to work because right now when you look at this, there’s no way you can see this as normal, there’s no way that any city in this country or any state can allow this to continue.”

He went on to say that “instead of dealing with the issues and the problems of those who are causing destruction and causing terror in these cities, she [Pelosi] is focused on an election with President Trump.”

Collins added that “the mayor of Portland and the speaker of the House share one thing in common: They're blind to the realities of their streets because they’re so focused on a political agenda they can't help their people.”

In a joint statement, Pelosi and Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Portland said, “While Portland is the president’s current target, any city could be next.”

“We live in a democracy, not a banana republic,” the statement continued. “We will not tolerate the use of Oregonians, Washingtonians – or any other Americans – as props in President Trump’s political games. The House is committed to moving swiftly to curb these egregious abuses of power immediately.”