Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler was tear-gassed by federal agents as he stood with protesters outside the city's federal courthouse on Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, Wheeler was seen coughing and appearing dazed as a cloud of tear gas arose. Someone reportedly handed him a pair of goggles and some water, to help with the effects of the gas, but he remained in unison with the protesters.
The outlet noted that it has not been made clear if the federal agents knew that Wheeler was present in the crowd when they fired the tear gas. He was not entirely well-received at first, as many protesters reportedly booed and jeered him initially, but he received cheers for proclaiming that he supports the "Black Lives Matter" movement. President Donald Trump commented on Wheeler's reception on Thursday. "Recently watched failed RINO Tom Ridge, former head of Homeland Security, trying to justify his sudden love of the Radical Left Mayor of Portland, who last night was booed & shouted out of existence by the agitators & anarchists," he tweeted. "Love watching pathetic Never Trumpers squirm!"
After being tear gassed in a crowd, Portland’s mayor and police commissioner Ted Wheeler denounced federal officers for “urban warfare.”July 23, 2020
While standing with the protesters on Wednesday, Wheel addressed the crowd and made clear his position on the federal agents. "I want to thank the thousands of you who have come out to oppose the Trump administration’s occupation of this city," Wheeler said. "The reason this is important is it is not just happening in Portland ... We’re on the front line here in Portland."
Ahead of his visit to the center of the protest area, Wheeler took to Twitter to address the situation in Portland. "This afternoon I was made aware of concerns within the community that federal agents may be authorized to use live ammunition on demonstrators this evening," hewrote. "Given the deployment of federal agents to other American cities and the clear escalation of the federal government, this information was alarming."
Wheeler added, "I have spoken with the U.S. Attorney of Oregon, Billy Williams, who assures me that the federal government has no plans to use live ammunition on Portlanders tonight,and that such an order would be unlawful. Nevertheless, I am sharing this information publicly out of an abundance of caution." He then concluded his message, "If you plan to demonstrate tonight, please be safe."