House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., blamed President Trump on Sunday for the clashes that have occurred between some of his supporters and protesters demonstrating against police brutality – saying the president is “willfully fanning the flames” of violence.
Schiff’s comments come less than 24 hours after one person was shot and killed in Portland, Ore., amid a series of altercations between a large caravan of Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters.
“The president is willfully fanning the flames of this fire,” Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They believe this is helpful to him.”’
Schiff added: “The president is only motivated by one thing: what is in it for him. He sees this violence and his ability to agitate more of it as useful to this campaign. What it does to the country, the loss of life, he doesn’t care.”’
Schiff, who was one of the lead Democrats in pursuing President Trumps’ removal from office during his impeachment trial earlier this year, has been one of the president’s most vocal critics and staunchest opponents over the last three and a half years.
Regarding Portland, it wasn’t clear if the shooting was linked to fights that broke out as a caravan of about 600 vehicles was confronted by counter-demonstrators in the city’s downtown.
Police said the caravan had left the area around 8:30 p.m., and officers heard gunshots at about 8:46 p.m., according to a statement. Officers arrived at the shooting scene “within a minute,” police said, but the man who was shot did not survive.
An Associated Press freelance photographer heard three gunshots and then observed police medics working on the body of the victim, who appeared to be a white man. The freelancer said the man was wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group whose members have frequently clashed with left-wing protesters in Portland in the past.
Police said the man was shot in the chest. He was not immediately identified. It’s unclear who shot him.
Portland has been the site of nightly protests for more than three months since George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. Many of them end in vandalism and violence, and hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested by local and federal law enforcement since late May.
Trump has been vocal in his criticism of the protesters and in his support of the caravan, tweeting on Sunday morning “GREAT PATRIOTS” alongside a video or the caravan.
“That is the sad and tragic truth about this and also of Trump’s presidency more generally,” Schiff said, adding that Trump “believes the violence helps him.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.