Press Release ● Human and Civil Rights
For Immediate Release: 
July 22, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after President Trump announced a “surge” of federal law enforcement agents to Chicago, IL and the deployment of agents to Albuquerque, NM and other U.S. cities:
 
“President Trump believes that sending militarized and heavily armed officers, unaccountable to local authorities, into American cities to undermine peaceful protests will distract from his abject failure to handle the COVID-19 crisis and his plummeting poll numbers.  Never have I seen such a craven and cynical abuse of a president’s responsibility to defend the Constitution and our laws. 

“In Portland, we have seen personnel in unlabeled uniforms beating peaceful protestors and unlawfully detaining Americans by pulling them into unmarked vans and whisking them away to unknown locations.  Such actions have, until now, been unthinkable in America or in any modern liberal democracy, mimicking the worst dictatorships where peaceful dissent is met with a violent response from secret police, where those who dare to speak their minds are made to disappear for hours, days, or even permanently.
 
“It is up to every person in this country who believes in our democracy and the rule of law to condemn these actions without qualification.  The Congress must protect the American people and the Constitution.  The House adopted an amendment by Rep. Houlahan that would require any federal officers deployed in this way by the President to identify themselves and their agencies clearly on their uniforms.  But more must be done to ensure that the lives, liberty, and rights of Americans are not trampled by the armed enforcers of a president bent on preserving his own power ahead of his responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution to which he swore an oath. House Democrats will continue working to rein in this dangerous abuse of power.”