US President Donald Trump announced a plan on Wednesday to send federal agents to more US cities to crack down on violent crime as he emphasises a “law and order” mantra going into the November 3 presidential election. Trump, joined by Attorney General William Barr, unveiled an expansion of the “Operation Legend” programme to include cities such as Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a further effort by federal officials to tackle violence. “Today I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime,” said Trump. Trump said “we have no choice but to get involved” with a rising death toll in some major cities. “This bloodshed must end, this bloodshed will end,” he said. The programme involves deploying federal law enforcement agents to assist local police in combating what the Justice Department has described as a “surge” of violent crime. A Justice Department official said the initiative is not related to the use of federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security to quell unrest in Portland, Oregon, where protests have taken place every night for weeks, with security forces often tear-gassing and clubbing demonstrators. Early on Thursday morning the mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, was stung by tear gas after he joined demonstrators protesting against racial injustice and police brutality. Visiting the protest site, Wheeler was jeered at by some demonstrators who called on him to resign and chanted “Shame on You”. They said he should have done more to protect Portland’s citizens. However, as he stood among the crowd outside Portland’s Justice Centre, Wheeler, who was wearing a face mask, was himself affected by tear gas. Video footage showed him coughing. The deployment of federal agents in Portland on July 4 is a flashpoint in a national debate over civil liberties. Wheeler, a Democrat, called the intervention an abuse of federal power and said it was escalating the violence. Wednesday saw bigger and bigger crowds of supporters joining the demonstrations. The Republican president has sharply criticised Democratic leaders for presiding over cities and states that are experiencing crime waves, using the issue as part of a “law and order” push he hopes will resonate with his political base. Trump is trailing Democrat Joe Biden in national opinion polls. It is not unusual for federal law enforcement to work alongside local partners. The Justice Department official said “Operation Legend” would provide additional resources to cities suffering from “traditional” violent crime. US democrats demand investigation into use of force at Portland protests Trump has emphasised a robust policing and military approach to the protests across the United States about racial inequality after the death of George Floyd, a black man, in Minneapolis police custody. The White House has sought to focus on city crime even as Trump’s approval numbers plummet in response to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The “Operation Legend” programme involves federal agents form the FBI, US Marshals Service and other agencies, partnering with local law enforcement. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said federal intervention was not required to help with violence in New York City, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has also urged Trump not to send unidentified federal agents to her city. “Operation Legend” is named for LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old boy who was shot and killed while he slept early June 29 in Kansas City, Missouri, according to the Department of Justice’s website.