Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said he has never and “will never” support President Donald Trump after the president claimed the “Portland sheriff” endorsed him during the first presidential debate Tuesday night.
Trump said he was endorsed by Reese as well as law enforcement groups in Florida, Texas and Ohio during an exchange with Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden. Reese, whose jurisdiction includes Portland, tweeted shortly that the claim was false.
“In tonight’s presidential debate the President said the ‘Portland Sheriff’ supports him. As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him,” Reese said on Twitter.
Portland, like many cities across the United States, has seen nearly nightly protests against racial injustice and police brutality since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Trump said that if the city of Portland requested federal help, “we would put out that fire” in 30 minutes and insisted local leaders would not because “they are run by radical left.”
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Reese, who became sheriff in 2016, criticized federal agents in July over their use of tear gas and “less lethal” munitions on protesters. He said he declined to meet with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf because law enforcement in Portland was becoming “highly politicized.”
“The actions by out-of-state federal agents last weekend failed to display good decision-making and sound tactical judgment,” Reese said in a statement at the time. “The use of force did not appear proportional to the actions of the demonstrators.”
When asked Tuesday night by moderator Chris Wallace if he had reached out to the city’s leaders to try to stop the violence, Biden also said local leaders could handle the protests.
“They can in fact take care of it if he’d just stay out of the way,” Biden said, referring to Trump. “He just pours gasoline on the fire, constantly, every single, solitary time.”