The Antifa challenger running for Portland mayor regurgitated the Biden-coined phrase: "Antifa is not anything more than an idea."
Sarah Iannarone leads incumbent Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler by double digits in a recent poll that surveyed likely voters. The two mayoral candidates faced off Thursday night at the first televised mayoral debate hosted by The Oregonian.
KGW News anchor and moderator Laural Porter asked Iannarone: "You've been called the 'Antifa Mayor.' Are you Antifa and how would that guide how you would handle protests as mayor?"
"I love that Joe Biden answered this question before me, because being opposed to fascism in 2020 is not something to be embarrassed about," Iannarone answered defensively. "I have a bumper sticker from the beginning of my campaign that says #EverydayAntifascist. And what I have tried to do is normalize peaceful responses to the rise of white nationalism by organizing in my community."
The contender went on to recount how she orchestrated a menstrual product drive for her neighbors when the Proud Boys arrived, "because the answer to toxic masculinity is an inclusive pluralist society where all backgrounds feel welcome."
"Is being anti-fascist the same thing as being Antifa? Are you Antifa?" Porter asked Iannarone point blank.
"Antifa is not anything more than an idea," Iannarone echoed Biden's evasive response that downplayed a connected network of far-left militants mobilized on social media with arms insidiously planted in major Democratic-led cities.
During last Tuesday night's first presidential debate, Democratic nominee Joe Biden claimed that "Antifa is an idea not an organization."
"That's what Vice President Biden explained to us. It's people who oppose anti-fascism," Iannarone continued, mirroring leftist talking points that often hijack the textbook definition of an expression. "I strongly oppose anti-fascism and I adopt and implement peaceful responses to that. And that is how I describe my position on this issue."
Iannarone continued this drawn-out euphemism for the left-wing terrorist organization: "Donald Trump has decided to make the enemy of groups of people who oppose his bullies and his militia forces. But I'm not going to be caught up in that rhetoric because it's false. It creates division in our society. It creates division in our city. What we need is every single Portlander faced in the right direction, saying 'Hate is not welcome here.'"
In late 2019, Iannarone was accused of inciting violence for a tweet directed at far-right and fascist groups that were supposedly present in Portland. "There should be no safe haven for people affiliated with domestic terrorists and white nationalist extremists in our #SanctuaryCity, period," she wrote at the time.
This comes after more than 100 days of continued civil unrest in Wheeler's town since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. President Donald Trump has attempted numerous efforts to send in the National Guard to quell the violence ravaging both the downtown and residential areas, but the sitting mayor has consistently turned down the opportunity without alternative action.
Wheeler had even moved to bar law enforcement from using tear gas as a commonly-used crowd control agent, declaring that "we need something different. We need it now." In July, the city official joined rioters and ended the night bathed in tear gas. As Wheeler approached the scene, he was immediately surrounded and interrogated about his intentions on defunding police. Enraged voices cried for his resignation, chanting "Tear Gas Ted has got to go."
Then a month later, the Portland mayor's pandering to the mob surmounted when he promoted a staggering $62 million coronavirus relief fund exclusively for "Black relief and resiliency" amid the Black Lives Matter-incited race riots that have relentlessly destroyed local businesses.
Leftists militants expressed their gratitude for an indulging city leader by launching illegal commercial-grade fireworks at his apartment complex in September to "celebrate" Wheeler's birthday. While sporting party hats, protestors sung "Happy tear gas to you" to the tune of "Happy Birthday." Others danced the "Macarena." A beating of drums and a pounding of pots and pans chimed in to a whistling cacophony of disgruntled Portlanders ever-dissatisfied with their mayor.
Wheeler is seeking to become the first Portland mayor to serve consecutive terms since Vera Katz’s three election wins in the 1990s and early 2000s. An Iannarone win would dub her the fourth woman to nab the mayoral seat of Oregon’s largest city.