Chad Wolf struck a defiant tone following criticism of federal agents in Portland, Oregon. He said his officers would continue to operate in the city amid protests.
The Acting Security of Homeland Security claimed at a press conference on Tuesday that protests in Portland weren’t peaceful. His department has been widely criticized in recent days.
“What is occurring in Portland in the early hours of every morning is not peaceful protesting,” Wolf said.
“We have been forced because of local law enforcement presence to take measures such as arrests to protect our officials.”
His comments come amid condemnation of arrests by officers wearing no apparent identification.
“While I look forward to the day that our officers are redeployed back to their regular day-to-day mission, we will not shrink from our duty because of this violence,” he said.
“If you are a violent rioter looking to inflict damage to federal property or law enforcement officers, you need to find another line of work.”
“We will not retreat. We will continue to protect our facilities and our law enforcement officers,” Wolf said.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi joined the chorus of criticism surrounding events in Portland this week. The California Democrat called federal agents there “storm troopers.”
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media