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Trump, Inslee trade Twitter barbs over Seattle’s Capitol Hill protest zone known as CHAZ

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (SounderBruce/WikiCommons)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday he “will not allow… threats of military violence against Washingtonians coming from the White House” after President Donald Trump a day earlier threatened to “take back” Seattle from protesters.

Inslee also appeared to tacitly defend an area on Capitol Hill now controlled by protesters and dubbed the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” or CHAZ. A day earlier, Inslee said he didn’t know about CHAZ.

“I spoke with [Mayor Jenny Durkan] and her team about the situation on Capitol Hill,” Inslee tweeted. “Although unpermitted, and we should remember we are still in a pandemic, the area is largely peaceful. Peaceful protests are fundamentally American, and I am hopeful there will be a peaceful resolution.”

“What we will not allow,” Inslee continued, “are threats of military violence against Washingtonians coming from the White House. The U.S. military serves to protect Americans, not the fragility of an insecure president.”

Durkan said Thursday it would be “unconstitutional and illegal to send military to Seattle.” “There is no imminent threat of an invasion in Seattle,” Durkan said.

The area on Capitol Hill was occupied by protesters this week, following more than a week of demonstrations near the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct. The department boarded up the precinct Monday. The demonstrations have been centered on defunding the Police Department and addressing racism and police brutality. Some say the precinct should be turned into a community center.

Trump on Wednesday night wrote on Twitter that “Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped [sic] IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!” Thursday, Trump apparently deleted the tweet and published new ones without the threat.

In his tweets Thursday, Inslee drew attention back to the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying Trump’s administration “knows what Washington needs right now.”

“If the president wants to show leadership, and that he cares about the people in this state, he should send us the PPE we’ve needed for months,” Inslee tweeted.

Durkan on Wednesday night tweeted about the president, “Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker.” She has scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon to address the “East Precinct, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone and President Trump’s threats to Seattle.”


© 2020 The Seattle Times