KEY POINTS

  • Trump threatened to unleash the U.S. Army troops to take back Seattle after some media outlets reported about armed Antifa gangs roaming city streets
  • "Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course," said Trump
  • City mayor Jenny Durkan asserted her city won't allow the U.S. Army troops to evict protesters that occupied an abandoned police building 

The mayor of Seattle, Washington, and the state governor condemned President Donald Trump for threatening to send the United States Army troops to invade the state after several protestors occupied an abandoned police precinct in the city and declared the creation of a "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone".

Trump threatened to use the U.S. troops to evict protestors occupying the East Precinct, a move that would be tantamount to a military invasion of Washington if the state government had not requested it.

Located at the intersection of 12th Avenue East and East Pine in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, the East Precinct has been at the center of the George Floyd protests gripping the city since late May.

On June 8, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) boarded up the East Precinct building and left it unoccupied. The same evening, residents of the neighborhood declared a “Free Capitol Hill” and began to imagine what a police-free community might look like.

Protestors also hung signs outside the precinct reading, "Seattle People Department" and "The Property of the People."

Following the incident, media outlets like Fox News, Breitbart and The Gateway Pundit reported about roaming bands of armed Antifa members seizing land in the city, terrorizing residents and demanding protection money, to which Trump responded by tweeting Thursday:

"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 stopped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!"

He later added, "Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course."

Mayor Jenny Durkan replied rapidly to Trump's rant, saying her city won't allow the U.S. Army troops to evict the protesters.

"The threat to invade Seattle -- to divide and incite violence in our city -- is not only unwelcome, it would be illegal," said Durkan at a Thursday press conference.

Durkan said the majority of the protests have been peaceful. She also stressed that one thing Trump "will never understand is that listening to the community is not a weakness. It's a strength."

Demonstrators in Seattle's CHAZ area set up a shrine to the memory of the late George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer triggered the recent wave of protests Demonstrators in Seattle's CHAZ area set up a shrine to the memory of the late George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer triggered the recent wave of protests Photo: AFP / Jason Redmond

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told Trump to stop tweeting, and added, "What we will not allow are threats of military violence against Washingtonians coming from the White House."

He echoed Durkan's remarks that the ongoing protests have mostly been peaceful.

"Although unpermitted, and we should remember we are still in a pandemic, the area is largely peaceful," said Inslee, a Democrat like Durkan. "Peaceful protests are fundamentally American, and I am hopeful there will be a peaceful resolution."

However, Durkan's order to abandon the precinct didn't sit well with the city's police chief.

"You should know, leaving the precinct was not my decision," said police chief Carmen Best in a video addressed to the members of the SPD and posted to the department's YouTube page Thursday.

Best said the city "had other plans for the building and relented to severe public pressure." She told her officers about her anger at how all this came about, while adding that her men spent days protecting the building before the city abandoned it.

Assistant police chief Deanna Nollette said SPD is trying to get a dialogue with protestors going "so we can figure out a way to resolve this without unduly impacting the citizens and the businesses that are operating in that area."