President Trump is sending a tactical US Customs and Border Protection team to Seattle to stand by for duty quelling protests, according to a report.
The team is similar to the Border Patrol Tactical Unit the White House has deployed in Portland, Oregon, a move that has come under fire for allegedly using overaggressive tactics to combat nearly two months of violent protests, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The move came as a surprise to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who told the outlet she spoke to Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and was assured that there were no plans to deploy federal troops in her city.
“Any deployment here would, in my view, undermine public safety,” Durkan said.
However, the administration noted that the team will remain on standby for now, and will only be deployed as needed.
“There is no large-scale deployment of personnel to Seattle at this time,” Department of Homeland Security spokesman Alexei Woltornist told the outlet. “As threats warrant, any large-scale use of law enforcement assets will involve close coordination with local law enforcement.
“There are no other cities across the country that have the same threats and lack of local law enforcement support as we are experiencing in Portland,” Woltornist said.
Trump has repeatedly threatened to send federal forces to cities that are coping with street protests or surges in violence, including the Big Apple.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who had been resistant to federal troops in the Windy City, announced that she had come to terms with the White House on plans to send 200 federal agents to the city to quell a recent uptick in violence.
In a statement, Lightfoot’s office said the mayor “has made clear that if there is any deviation from what has been announced, she will pursue all available legal options to protect Chicagoans.”
Officials in Portland have openly decried the presence of more than 100 federal troops in the Oregon city, part of a mission titled “Operation Diligent Valor” by the Trump administration.
This week, Portland officials sued for a restraining order against the federal presence in the city, claiming the troops have used excessive force against protestors and have arrested people without probable cause.
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