Boasting of his support among law enforcement, Trump asserted that in ‘Portland, the sheriff just came out today and he said, I support President Trump’.
But Mike Reese, the sheriff of Multnomah County which includes Portland, quickly retorted that ‘I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him’.
Portland has been the scene of months of angry protests which the president has seized on to promote his ‘law and order’ agenda, but the sheriff said Trump had ‘made my job a hell of a lot harder since he started talking about Portland’.
Mike Reese (pictured left), the sheriff of Multnomah County which includes Portland, rejected a claim by Donald Trump (right) that he was supporting the president’s re-election campaign
The Oregon sheriff said Donald Trump had ‘made my job a hell of a lot harder since he started talking about Portland’ in the wake of months-long race protests
Portland has been one of the longest-running flashpoints in the racial injustice protests which erupted after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Cops have repeatedly clashed with demonstrators outside the federal courthouse and police buildings, with 27 riots declared in four months.
Some protesters have thrown bricks, rocks and other projectiles at officers, with police responding by firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.
Nearly 900 demonstrators have been arrested, and Trump sparked anger by dispatching federal agents to the city in a bid to quell the violence.
The federal troops were withdrawn in late July but Trump has warned since then that ‘we will go in and do it for them’ if city authorities do not subdue the protests.
Last week protesters hurled firebombs at officers amid nationwide protests after no cops were charged with killing Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.
Trump has not claimed the sheriff’s support before, but has lambasted the city’s Democratic mayor Ted Wheeler as a ‘joke’ and a ‘fool’.
During his debate with Joe Biden he boasted that law enforcement groups in Florida, Texas and Ohio were supporting his re-election campaign.
‘Excuse me, Portland – the sheriff just came out today and he said, I support President Trump,’ he incorrectly claimed.
He continued: ‘If they called us in Portland, we would put out that fire in half an hour, but they won’t do it because they’re run by radical left Democrats.
‘We believe in law and order but you don’t,’ he said, claiming that the ‘radical left’ had Biden ‘wrapped around their finger’.
Oregon police officers wearing anti-riot gear march towards protesters through tear gas smoke during protests in Portland earlier this month
Trump made the inaccurate claim during his debate with Joe Biden (pictured) who said he opposed calls to ‘defund the police’
Biden did not respond directly, but said that ‘the vast majority of police officers are good, decent, honorable men and women.’
He added: ‘But there are some bad apples. And when they occur, when they find them, they have to be sorted out, they have to be held accountable.
‘What I’m going to do as president of the United States is call together an entire group of people at the White House, everything from civil rights groups to the police officers to the police chiefs, and we’re going to work this out’.
A poll published earlier this month showed 45 per cent of Americans believing Biden would handle race protests better than Trump, with 28 per cent saying he would handle them worse and 23 per cent saying there would be no change.
The Monmouth poll also showed that 61 per cent thought Trump had made the situation worse, compared to only 24 per cent who said better.
A bare majority, 52 per cent, said they were confident that Biden could ‘maintain law and order’ if he wins the November 3 election.
Trump was narrowly behind on that measure, with 48 per cent saying the president would maintain law and order if re-elected.
Biden has rejected calls to ‘defund the police’, saying he wants to invest in social programs to take the burden away from law enforcement.
‘I’m totally opposed to defunding the police office,’ Biden asserted during the presidential debate.
The bad-tempered debate in Cleveland, Ohio left many viewers exasperated after moderator Chris Wallace struggled to maintain order.
Trump attacked Biden’s son and said the former vice president was not ‘smart’, while the Democratic nominee called the president a ‘liar’ and told him to ‘shut up, man’.
Trump has more debates with Biden scheduled for October, while Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s vice presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, have a debate next week.