President TrumpDonald John TrumpRon Perlman, Matt Gaetz get into back-and-forth on Twitter The NYT and the Cotton op-ed: Opinion or party line? Robert Gates joins calls for Army bases named after Confederate leaders to be renamed MORE on Monday laced into Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington state sounds alarm over rising coronavirus cases Protesters negotiate with local officials over leaving Seattle ‘autonomous zone’ Inslee calls on Trump to ‘stay out of Washington state’s business’ MORE (D) and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) for failing to break up a group of protesters who have occupied a portion of the city, though he declined to offer specifics on when or how he might intervene.
Trump has fixated over the past week on demonstrators living in what has been dubbed the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in downtown Seattle, ridiculing the movement as a group of radical anarchists. He has focused his ire on Inslee, a former Democratic candidate for the White House who has previously tussled with Trump, and Durkan, accusing the two leaders of being weak.
“You have a governor who doesn’t do a damn thing about it, and you have a mayor that doesn’t know she’s alive,” Trump said Monday.
“If they don’t do the job, I’ll do the job,” Trump added.
But when pressed for specifics, the president demurred. He suggested he could do “about 10 different things” to disperse the gathering, then launched into a diatribe accusing the news media of failing to give the protest adequate attention.
Trump said he has no timeline for taking action, but that the federal government is watching the situation closely.
“So, look, the governor has to call out the troops, do what he has to do, has to call out the National Guard,” Trump said. “Has to do something. Because you know the problem with what happened in Seattle is it spreads. And all of a sudden they’ll say let’s do some other city.
“We’re not going to let it happen,” he continued. “So, timing wise, hey, we’re all set to go. We’re watching the process. But the most amazing thing about the process is how the fake news media doesn’t want to cover it.”
Protesters have been occupying the autonomous zone near a police precinct for roughly one week following protests where law enforcement used tear gas and flash-bangs amid clashes with demonstrators.
The autonomous zone has blocked vehicles from entering, though people can enter and exit by foot. The protesters are pushing for an overhaul of local law enforcement, with some advocating for decreased police funding in favor of community programs.
The protest comes amid a broader national conversation about police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Conservatives, and Trump in particular, have seized on the Seattle protest and highlighted altercations within the autonomous zone to paint the group as anarchists who illustrate the need for law and order.
Still, it’s unclear whether Trump will get involved in the situation. He has threatened in the past three weeks to send the military to cities dealing with unruly protests and to intervene when New York City saw looting and vandalism. But he has yet to take definitive action beyond Washington, D.C., where the federal government has more power because the district does not have a governor.