American law professor Jonathan Turley, considered a progressive, argues that the president has the right to defend federal property, citing Democratic complaints about federal agents’ actions to control riots in their territories.
High levels of violence caused by allegedly “peaceful” leftist protesters and the relative complacency of local Democratic authorities have resulted in hundreds of deaths and destruction of public property, so the Trump administration responded by sending federal agents to protect citizens and their property.
Turley spoke out in support of the government’s decisions, in accordance with his interpretation of the law.
“The President can send federal officers to protect federal buildings or enforce federal laws. Under the article … II, the President has a duty to ‘see that laws are faithfully executed.’ Several statutes allow federal agencies to help improve the enforcement of federal laws,” Turley tweeted.
…The President can surge federal officers to protect federal buildings or enforce federal laws. Under Art. II, the President has the duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Various statutes allow for federal agencies to assist in enhanced federal enforcement.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) July 21, 2020
“The President and the Department of Justice never have to wait for a state to ask for federal intervention,” Turley is reported to have considered as well, adding, “State and local officials have the primary responsibility for dealing with crime on the streets,” quoted by Guy Benson, Townhall’s political editor, on July 22.
One of the most documented cases of federal force intervention was the protection of the Federal Courthouse in Portland, which was besieged by aggressive members of the group considered antifa terrorist, reportedly.
Former U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy argued, “In Portland, federal agents are faithfully enforcing our nation’s laws.”
A Portland police statement described the attack as “dozens of people with shields, helmets, gas masks, umbrellas, bats, and hockey sticks came to the doors” of the courthouse and broke the glass doors, covered the outside of the building with graffiti, and tried to set it on fire several times.
Outrage against the leftist protesters is growing
“These ‘peaceful protesters’ are using lasers to aim at officers’ eyes, shooting bearings with slingshots, using pellet guns and air rifles, launching fireworks at officers, and barricading police inside a federal courthouse,” Trump’s campaign was denounced, according to Townhall on July 22.
Complaints and animosity from Democrats has been constant. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) referred to federal agents as “storm troopers” who are “kidnapping protesters.”
Similarly, Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden accused federal police on July 21 of “brutally attacking peaceful protesters” around the federal courthouse in Portland, and they were acting “without a clearly defined mandate or authority.”
Beyond the arguments of the Democrats, President Donald Trump spoke out when he announced the creation of Operation LeGend, composed of agents from different federal agencies to strengthen security at sites harassed by protesters. He expressed solidarity with the victims’ families and assured them of protection.
“We are also pleased to be joined by Americans who have tragically lost loved ones in the recent violence,” Trump said, according to a July 22 White House report.
“To each of you, please know that the United States grieves with you, that we are committed to honoring the memory of your loved ones by fighting for the safety of each and every community. We will bring that safety. You will see it,” he said.