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As bad as Ted Wheeler has been as mayor, an open supporter of Antifa could be the next mayor of Portland.
Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone once tweeted the words “I am Antifa’ on her Twitter account.
Fox News host Jessee Waters interviewed Sarah Iannarone on Sunday.
Guess what? She’s not backing down from her comments even a little.
Imagine a mayor who is running on the merits of proudly being Antifa…
Things could get really bad in Portland.
Jesse Waters Interview with Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Sarah Iannarone
The Washington Times has more information on Ms. Iannarone and her controversial beliefs:
Voters in Portland, Oregon, will decide in November whether to elect an Antifa mayor, even after President Trump vowed to declare Antifa a domestic terrorism organization.
Longtime Portland community organizer Sarah Iannarone has made no secret of her political sympathies. She declared last year that “I am Antifa” and wryly embraced the “Antifa mayor” label. She and her campaign manager, Gregory McKelvey, were featured in a December article in Playboy with the headline “Antifa in Focus.”
“I am antifa,” she tweeted in September. “I stand proudly beside the good people of this city organizing in countless ways every day to oppose hate in its myriad forms.”
Two months later, she tweeted, “If they’re going to call me ‘Antifa Mayor,’ then I might as well fight fascism.”
Despite her proud stance, or maybe because of it, Ms. Iannarone placed second in the crowded May 19 mayoral primary with 23.8% of the vote. That landed her in the November runoff with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who came up just shy of the 50% threshold needed to win the race outright.
A former Oregon state treasurer, Mr. Wheeler is as liberal as the next big-city mayor. He is a Democrat, though the office is nonpartisan, but the often-violent clashes between Antifa and right-wing groups such as Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys have placed him in a difficult position.
Mr. Wheeler, 57, has sought to discourage right-wingers from rallying in Portland, but he has run afoul of leftist extremists by refusing to ban right-wing groups from holding rallies on city property, given the free speech issues involved.
“He’s in a no-win situation,” said Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier, mayor of Adair Village. “He’s somewhat sympathetic to [Antifa‘s] objectives, but he is loathed by them. With the Antifa folks, you’re either all-in or you’re against them.”
Ms. Iannarone has taken advantage of the tension by accusing the mayor of using the “militarized” police to create a “safe space” for “white nationalists” while “abusing” anti-fascists.
Her “rethinking public safety” plan calls for exploring “all legal avenues to prevent hate groups from crossing state lines” and “speaking out against hate groups with the goal of destigmatizing antifascism and clearly demonstrating that the people of Portland wish to stand up to the rise of fascism and white nationalism.”
“Sarah rejects the notion of ‘both sides,’” her platform statement reads. “When the people stand up, the mayor should stand with them. The demonization of antifascism is dangerous for democracy.”
Ms. Iannarone’s no-tolerance position on “hate groups” may be a First Amendment lawsuit waiting to happen, but it has without a doubt made her a popular figure on the far left, a not-insignificant percentage of the Portland vote.
“There is a subculture in Portland that goes along with their unofficial motto of ‘Keep Portland Weird,’ where a certain amount of anarchy is embraced,” Mr. Currier said. “It’s about sticking it to the man to achieve social justice goals.”
She may toe the Antifa line, but Ms. Iannarone, who placed third in the 2016 mayoral primary, has the political sense not to look the part. With her short, elfin red hair and round glasses, the 46-year-old looks more like a cool college professor than a street radical.
Ms. Iannarone has had several opportunities before the Fox News interview to denounce the violence in Portland or better explain her own comments.
She's found her hill and she's willing to die on it though, as evidence by her interview with Straight Talk back in August.
When asked if she would denounce the smaller group of nightly protests that have gone on for more than 70 nights and often turn destructive and violent, Iannarone declined.
"I know nobody controls a social movement," she said. "We need to understand these protests are part of a healthy democracy. Peaceful protests, in my opinion, might not necessarily be moving the conversation forward."
Iannarone's comments were made during the show's taping on Thursday. On Friday, Iannarone’s campaign sent KGW this statement on the issue:
Criminal activity is illegal, and of course I don't condone it. What I'm focused on is ensuring police do not use violence and even lethal force against people who have done nothing wrong, as we have seen nightly, and for decades. We must not take our focus off why these recent protests began, and reimagine public safety so we can save lives. I condemn arson, obviously. I also condemn the countless deaths of Black individuals at the hands of police.
Largely peaceful protests in Portland have continued nightly for 10 weeks since the killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day.
There has also been a small group, usually of 200 people or fewer, who have gathered late each night outside the Justice Center, federal courthouse, and Portland police precinct and union buildings. They've smashed windows, lit fires, and thrown objects at officers, including fireworks, rocks and bricks.
On the night of Aug. 5, a crowd gathered outside the East Precinct in Southeast Portland. Some in the crowd tried to set the building on fire while officers and others were inside, according to Mayor Wheeler.
"We have people who are intentionally planning to go out and attack precincts," Lovell said. "These senseless attempts to injure officers and destroy police facilities are reprehensible and need to stop."
"I feel that lives hang in the balance," he said.
Lovell has asked the community to denounce the violence.
When asked if she would denounce the criminal activity and the fires being set to buildings with people inside, Iannarone again side-stepped the question.
"I'm not the person setting the fires. I'm not the person here to tell them how to protest," Iannarone said.
When pressed further, she said, "Here's what I have to say. Their outrage at the police is valid. And the problem of police brutality and executing Black lives in the streets is more important than petty vandalism. We can't forget that in this historic moment," she said.
Iannarone said the city won't see an end to the protests until police brutality stops and accountability is mandated. She said the Portland Police Bureau should be de-escalating, not declaring riots and using batons and tear gas.
"The police have not done a good job of policing the police. And so, for Chief Lovell to respond to protests about police brutality with police brutality undermines what we're trying to accomplish," she said.
Sounds like Ms. Iannarone would fit right in with these nut cases, and that is a scary thought.