State Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), who used the Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday to tee off on federal police tactics against peaceful demonstrators in Portland, Ore., and warn that “brownshirts” could be coming to Baltimore, reiterated the theme in a fundraising appeal on Thursday.
“What Donald Trump did to Portland, and is now planning to do to Baltimore, is nothing more than fascism for [the] sake of his failing re-election campaign,” Franchot wrote in an email to supporters.
Franchot was referring to the controversial use of unidentifiable federal police, which began in Portland last week, to round up, disrupt and arrest Black Lives Matter protesters.
“Make no mistake — these brownshirts, as I correctly called them, are not being deployed to protect people and prevent crime,” Franchot wrote. “They are there to incite violence and injure peaceful protestors, because that’s what Donald Trump and his far-right supporters want to see.”
Franchot also sounded a warning that federal police could similarly be headed to Baltimore.
“My fear is that the fascist tactics of Donald Trump are going to deliver a devastating blow to Baltimore, and the State of Maryland, at a time when we are already dealing with a public health crisis, an economic crisis, and a crisis of social justice,” he wrote.
The comptroller’s use of left-wing rhetoric comes as he prepares to run for governor in 2022 and has been trying to burnish his progressive bonafides after years as Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s most reliable Democratic ally.
At the same Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday, Franchot sought to associate his criticism of State Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone with the late congressman John Lewis’ civil rights and voting rights legacy. He has also argued strenuously in recent weeks for the removal of a statue in Easton that honors Confederate soldiers.
“Help me stand up for Maryland and fight against Donald Trump’s fascist tactics,” Franchot’s email concludes. “Chip in $5, $20, $100, or $250 today.