White House chief of staff Mark Meadows says Trump is 'on the side of law enforcement and the rule of law'

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said amid tense protests, President Donald Trump is "on the side of law enforcement and the rule of law."
  • Meadows made the comments on NBC's "Meet the Press" when moderator Chuck Todd asked him why Trump hadn't disavowed the actions of his own supporters, but frequently critiques the actions of other demonstrators.
  • Months of protests against racism and police brutality have seen violent and destructive actors, with clashes between anti-racism activists and supporters of the president.
  • Earlier Sunday, Trump, who has attacked Democratic leaders in cities where anti-racism protests have sometimes turned violent, tweeted "LAW & ORDER!!!"
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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said that President Donald Trump is "on the side of law enforcement and the rule of law" when Chuck Todd, the moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked him why Trump hadn't publicly criticized the actions of his own supporters.

While months of protests against racism and police brutality — sparked by the May police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis — have often been peaceful, like a march on Washington, DC, last week, they've also at times been violent and destructive.

One person was killed late Saturday in Portland, Oregon, a city that's functioned as a microcosm of the nationwide political debate over the demonstrations as local and state leaders repeatedly clash with Trump over how to respond to them.

Although Trump has frequently critiqued the actions of Black Lives Matter activists and other left-leaning groups, there have also been reports of violent incidents around demonstrations involving right-wing groups and individuals. At a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week, local police say 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a supporter of Trump, shot three people, killing two.

As NBC News reported, despite reports that their presence has in some cases led to further unrest, the president on Sunday tweeted praises of his supporters, calling them "GREAT PATRIOTS!," while calling other protesters "Disgraceful Anarchists."

"I'm just trying to understand," Todd said, referring to Rittenhouse. "The president denounced the violence on one side of protesters he didn't like, but why not denounce what this young man did?"

"Let me tell you where the president is," Meadows responded. "The president's on the side of law enforcement and the rule of law. And he's been very consistent in that."

Earlier in the interview, Meadows further implied that violence in cities like Portland was the result of poor leadership by local and state Democratic leaders.

"These are people that every single night conduct violent acts," Meadows said of demonstrators. "And it is in Democrat cities. You know, you want to talk about Donald Trump's America. Most of Donald Trump's America is peaceful. It is a Democrat-led city in Portland that we're talking about this morning who just yesterday denied help once again from the federal government."

On Friday, Portland's Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler wrote an open letter to Trump, rejecting his offer to send federal agents back to the city to help quash unrest.

"When you sent the Feds to Portland last month, you made the situation far worse," Wheeler wrote, telling the president he did not want federal agents in the city. "Your offer to repeat that disaster is a cynical attempt to stoke fear and distract us from the real work of our city."

"We need to make sure that we hold people accountable," Meadows said on Sunday of violent actors. "And ultimately, we need to make sure that these people that are conducting these acts go to jail."

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