Caravan of Trump Thugs Invades Portland to Stir Up Violence

‘On August 29, 2020 at about 5:30 p.m. a caravan of hundreds of vehicles travelled from Clackamas Town Center into Portland,” says a news release from the Portland Police Bureau. “This line of vehicles stretched for miles. A significant number of vehicles drove downtown, clogging traffic from the Morrison Bridge into downtown.”

In the night, a man associated with the Prayer Patriots, a right-wing group, was shot and killed. His name has not been released, and so far there is no indication who shot him, or if the police even have any suspects. The Portland Police Bureau is asking the public for videos or eyewitness accounts of the shooting.

One video of the caravan was retweeted by You-Know-Who. This would have been after the shooting.

Here are more tweet/videos of the caravan from a New York Times reporter.

That last one got retweeted, too.

In Trump’s version of reality, these goons were necessary and righteous people who went to Portland to maintain order. Yes, clogging the streets and spraying people randomly with pepper spray and paintballs is obviously about maintaining order, she said sarcastically.

This is from Baker’s New York Times story:

A video that purports to be of the Saturday night shooting in Portland, taken from the far side of the street, showed a small group of people in the road outside what appears to be a parking garage. Gunfire erupts, and a man collapses in the street.

The man who was shot and killed was wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group based in the Portland area that has clashed with protesters in the past. Joey Gibson, the head of the group, said Sunday he could not share many details but could confirm the man was a good friend and supporter of Patriot Prayer.

The Portland Police Bureau said that officers heard reports of gunfire shortly before 9 p.m. and found a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. It was determined that the victim had died. They did not release any information about a possible gunman.

The Daily Mail has the purported video; I can’t make out much from it.

I don’t believe I had ever before heard of the Patriot Prayer, or Prayer Patriots, or whatever they call themselves. This November 2019 news story puts them in league with the Proud Boys.

On a drizzly Portland day this past September, members of Vancouver-based Patriot Prayer gathered at Portland’s Pioneer Square for what they called a prayer march.

About 30 of the members were greeted by a handful of counterdemonstrators, a contingent of Satanic Portland Antifascists among them.

And I had never heard of the Satanic Portland Antifascists, either.

Members sporting helmets and video cameras documented the verbal sparring. One Patriot Prayer member told a black counterprotester to “go back to Africa.” The occasional passerby yelled for them to “go back to Washington” or “no one wants you here.”

Patriot Prayer is a far-right group that has attracted racist and violent followers. The group is similar to the more well known Proud Boys, another violent extremist group. …

…As recently as Sunday, Proud Boys members were videotaped grappling with and punching a person on an overpass in Portland.

Portland in particular has been a leading example of how law enforcement has struggled to grapple with toxic political discourse playing out in the streets. Every few months since 2017, the city has grabbed national attention as far-right groups and counterprotesters throw milkshakes, douse each other with bear spray or engage in street fights.

So there’s history with this group in Portland, going back to long before the killing of George Floyd. And Trump encourages these goons. He gives them permission to be as bad as they want to be. Back in June Adam Serwer wrote that Trump Gave Permission to Police to Be Brutal. “Trump has few ideological convictions as consistent as his belief in the redemptive power of state violence against religious and ethnic minorities,” Serwer wrote. And if state violence isn’t doing the job, then a mob of right-wing thugs will do the job just as well. See also Trump isn’t the ‘law and order’ president. He’s the ‘lawless and disorder’ president at Business Insider.

Yes, the dead Prayer Patriot may have been killed by a Black Lives Matter sympathizer.  But these goons have hungered for a race war, or an ideological war, or some kind of war, for years. So much of the domestic terrorism we experience in the U.S. is carried out by right-wing goons who want to start a war. The killing of their fellow traveler should make them proud they are getting closer to their goal.

And then there’s the media coverage of this nonsense. Jennifer Rubin:

Republican elected officials feel comfortable reverting to the Southern Strategy, portraying themselves as the only thing standing between White people and violent Black people. It is a tune they have been singing since 1968.

Naturally then, the news media is holding Trump accountable for violence, insisting that he condemn police excesses and … no, that is not happening. Instead, they amplify Trump’s demand that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden do something about the violence. Biden’s weak-kneed supporters (playing into Trump’s hands) blame Biden for not denouncing violence — which Biden has repeatedly done. That in turn generates a spate of “Democrats worried violence hurts Biden” articles. The media focus on the same few incidents of violence drowns out reports (mostly in print, rarely on TV news) explaining White instigators’ role in these events. (When the role of White provocateurs does make the news, there is rarely video to accompany the brief reference to White agitators.) And you wonder how Trump gets away with rabid race-baiting?

Yeah, that’s spot on. Can’t argue with it at all.

Rubin also calls on Biden to go on offense and “demand Trump denounce shootings of unarmed Black men, stop Republican obstruction to police reform, cease veneration of symbols of white supremacy such as the Confederate flag and decry White armed groups.” Sounds good.

As Rubin says, Democrats should not allow themselves to be put on the defensive about whatever happened in Portland last night, or about the shootings (BY A TRUMP SUPPORTER!) in Kenosha, or any of the other violence being carried out by Trump’s thugs who are provoking violence in our cities.

Yesterday a miles-long caravan of hundreds of vehicles displaying Trump signs invaded Portland. The caravan riders clearly intended to provoke violent confrontation, and someone died. Those are the plain facts. And until the police stop playing nice with these thugs, violence is going to continue.