"As tensions continue in Portland following the racially charged murder of two men on Friday, the top Republican in the city said he is considering using militia groups as security for public events.
Portland knife attack: tension high as 'free speech rally' set for weekend Read more Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Rick Best, 53, were stabbed to death and 21-year-old student Micah David-Cole Fletcher was injured when they came to the aid of two women being subjected to hate speech on public transport. The suspect, Jeremy Christian, 35, was found to hold white supremacist views and to have attended an ‘alt-right’ rally in the city.
On Monday, Donald Trump issued a belated message of condolence. Asked about the president’s tweet, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler told the Guardian: ‘Our current political climate allows far too much room for those who spread bigotry. Violent words can lead to violent acts.
‘All elected leaders in America, all people of good conscience, must work deliberately change our political dialogue.’
Multnomah County GOP chair James Buchal, however, told the Guardian that recent street protests had prompted Portland Republicans to consider alternatives to ‘abandoning the public square’.
‘I am sort of evolving to the point where I think that it is appropriate for Republicans to continue to go out there,’ he said. ‘And if they need to have a security force protecting them, that’s an appropriate thing too.’
Asked if this meant Republicans making their own security arrangements rather than relying on city or state police, Buchal said: ‘Yeah. And there are these people arising, like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.’
Asked if he was considering such groups as security providers, Buchal said: ‘Yeah. We’re thinking about that. Because there are now belligerent, unstable people who are convinced that Republicans are like Nazis.’