U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) claimed without evidence on Sunday the violent riots in Portland, Oregon, that have been ongoing since the police custody death of George Floyd in late May, are not Antifa-instigated and are “a myth.”
Journalist Austen “Fleccas” Fletcher, who regularly interviews people from across the political spectrum, approached the high-ranking New York Democrat in Washington and asked if he disavowed the violent riots in the city.
“I ran into Jerry Nadler in DC and asked him to disavow the Antifa violence/rioting in Portland. His response? ‘THATS A MYTH,'” Fletcher wrote on Twitter, along with a short video of the conversation.
I ran into Jerry Nadler in DC and asked him to disavow the Antifa violence/rioting in Portland.
“THATS A MYTH” pic.twitter.com/veImyE2rju
— Essential Fleccas ???????? (@fleccas) July 27, 2020
Nadler was slammed on social media after telling Fletcher the Antifa-related violence is “a myth that’s being spread only in Washington, DC.”
The political commenter followed up on his question and asked him once more, “about Antifa in Portland?” to which Nadler replied, “yes,” as he walked away toward a car.
Before Nadler was quickly escorted away to the car, Fletcher advised him to “look online,” and said “there [are] fires and riots. They’re throwing fireworks at federal officers.”
Nadler’s response contradicts the video evidence spread on social media, along with what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says is happening in the city.
The DHS released a statement on July 24, explaining that “the situation in Portland for the past 55 straight days, continues with violent anarchists rioting on the streets of Portland as federal law enforcement officers work diligently and honorably to enforce federal law; they do so by defending federal property and the lives of their fellow officers.”
The latest protest was declared a riot after hundreds of people breached the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, where federal agents are being stationed, according to police.
Federal officials said no response is necessary if crowds stay away from the federal courthouse and the new fencing, which violent demonstrators repeatedly set fire to and damaged before the barrier was put up.
Federal officers fired tear gas and used other crowd-control munitions early Monday in Portland after rioters launched fireworks and hurled projectiles at them during efforts to take down fencing around the courthouse.
DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf criticized Portland leaders during an interview with Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” for claiming that the city’s demonstrations are peaceful. He explained that the level of violence in Portland differs from other cities across the country which have seen demonstrations, riots, and calls to “defund the police.”
— Bowen Xiao (@BowenXiao_) July 24, 2020
“They’re coming armed with rocks, bottles, baseball bats, power tools, commercial-grade fireworks, eliciting that violence and targeting their violence on federal courthouses and federal law enforcement officers,” Wolf said, describing the situation in Portland, which has seen eight consecutive weeks of rioting and violence.
“That’s very different than what’s going on in Chicago, places like Chicago, Albuquerque, Kansas City,” he added. “That is where you see normal criminal activity, street crime, what we say regarding gangs and drug dealers.”
Portland is home to Rose City Antifa, the oldest known so-called anti-fascist group in the United States. The group has clashed with law enforcement officials and supporters of President Donald Trump numerous times since the 2016 presidential election.
Nadler has been a vocal critic of federal agents sent to the city by the Trump administration to bring back law and order. In a joint letter to the inspectors general for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security earlier this month, Nadler and two Democratic colleagues said the Trump administration has “increasingly abused emergency authorities to justify the use of force against Americans exercising their right to peaceful assembly.”
They requested an urgent investigation into the use of federal law enforcement that they alleged is “suppress[ing] First Amendment-protected activities” in Portland and other communities across the country.
Epoch Times reporter Isabel van Brugen contributed to this report.