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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler reacted on Sunday to President Trump's tweets attacking Democratic officials in the wake of a fatal shooting Saturday night during clashes between Trump supporters and protesters, saying at a news conference, "I'd appreciate that either the president support us or stay the hell out of the way."

Why it matters: Trump has made Portland, which has seen more than 90 consecutive days of Black Lives Matter protests, a target for his claims that Democratic leadership is allowing violent rioters and antifa to overrun cities. Wheeler last week rejected Trump's offer to send federal law enforcement in the city to help quell violent protests, leading the president to unleash a barrage of attacks on Twitter over the weekend.

What he's saying: "Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It's you who have created the hate and division," Wheeler told reporters.

  • "My response is as the president of the United States and somebody who has been perpetrating divisive and hateful language for four years — for him to now stand here and say that it's unexpected and act as though he is shocked, is appalling to me."
  • "The tweets that he has been putting out in the last 48 hours attacking Democratic mayors, attacking those who are trying to bring resolution to the violence in their local communities. He has an opportunity to uplift us and bring us together and help us move through this difficult situation in our nation's history."
  • "And instead, he chooses to play petty politics and divide us. ... I'm gonna do the work I need to do here in my local community with my local officials to take accountability for what's happening in our streets, and I'd appreciate that either the president support us or stay the hell out of the way."

The big picture: Wheeler stressed that he condemns any violence and that the solution is providing a space for peaceful protests while addressing the systemic injustices that are underlying the unrest. He also said he's not sure how something like Saturday night's shooting death could have been prevented from an operational standpoint.

  • "Keep in mind, it's no secret to anybody that I personally am not a Trump supporter," Wheeler said. "But I will defend to the death the right of a Trump supporter to stand outside my apartment and nonviolently demonstrate in support of their candidate."
  • "When people say they want to come into the city in a caravan supporting their presidential candidate, we cannot tell them no," he continued. "They have constitutional rights to be here, rights which I embrace and support. The violence, however, is the problem."

Go deeper

Biden: "This is the time to heal in America"

Biden gives his victory speech in Wilmington, Del. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden said "this is the time to heal in America" and called on the nation to come together to get the coronavirus under control, address systemic racism, confront climate change and "restore decency."

Driving the news: Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris addressed the nation Saturday night at a drive-in style rally in Wilmington, Del., hours after news networks projected Biden as the winner of the U.S. presidential election.

Updated 2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.