Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano offered a stark contrast to Fox’s recent coverage of the protests in Portland, calling out federal agents on Tuesday for inciting violence with protesters by “indiscriminately” using tear gas and “stirring up things” with protesters.
During his House testimony on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr justified the Trump administration’s use of federal agents to crack down on anti-police brutality protesters, describing the Portland demonstrations as “an assault” on the U.S. government. The administration, meanwhile, has dispatched even more agents to Portland, even though local activists and officials note that the feds’ presence has inspired more violence.
Appearing on Your World with Neil Cavuto, Napolitano agreed with Barr’s assertion that the federal government has the right and even the obligation to protect federal property in Portland. At the same time, the Fox analyst said that many agents have been seen “nowhere near the courthouse disrupting freedom of speech.”
He went on to say that while it is defensible to surround the federal courthouse with fencing and armed agents to protect it, it is another thing “for them to go out stirring things up in the street” with protesters expressing their opinion.
“It is an unorthodox way to express political opinions in the middle of the night in the area where nobody lives,” the judge added. “But political dissent is part of our heritage and our culture and it is how the country began.”
Anchor Neil Cavuto wondered aloud whether Napolitano agreed with local and state leaders that the feds’ presence has “actually instigated or incited more violence” in the city.
“I do think they have incited more than what ordinarily would be the case primarily because of their continuous hour-long barrages of tear gas,” Napolitano responded. “It is a very serious form of tear gas.”
Noting that the tear gas used by federal agents in Portland is “prohibited in wartime,” the libertarian judge then criticized the reckless and careless way it’s been deployed.
“But they are using it indiscriminately so it affects people who are there to watch and people who are there to express a political opinion,” he exclaimed. “The government can’t be doing that. That is why the locals want them out.”
Cavuto replied that there are “a lot of locals who worry about this unending siege of their city regardless of who is to blame,” adding that they “want some peace.”
The network’s pro-Trump stars, meanwhile, have cheered the feds’ violent clashes with protesters in Portland while overstating the violence caused by the protesters, prompting other media outlets to call out Fox’s “lies.”