Jay Inslee just took out-of-touch to a whole new level.
At a news conference Wednesday, the Washington governor and one-time Democratic presidential contender fielded a question about a radical movement taking over a substantial piece of real estate in his state’s biggest city and came up empty.
He didn’t have a clue it was even happening.
As most of the country knew but apparently Washington’s chief executive did not, protesters in the oddly named Capitol Hill district of Seattle (the state’s Capitol is in Olympia) had established a “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” which the Seattle Times described in a story published Wednesday as an area “free of uniformed police.”
It wasn’t just the local media, either. In a story published Wednesday, the Washington, D.C.-based The Hill published a story describing a brief occupation of Seattle’s City Hall by protesters who demanded the city’s police department be defunded, then returned to the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”
“Located in the Capitol Hill district, the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ surrounds the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct,” The Hill reported. “Police opened the area to demonstrators on June 8 after closing the streets in response to protesters demonstrating against police violence after the death of George Floyd. The East Precinct remains staffed, but Assistant Chief Tom Mahaffey said in a statement they were taking measures for the safety of officers and the building.”
News of the radicals’ takeover of several blocks in the city went viral on social media.
So, basically, anyone with a passing interest in events in Seattle could have easily been informed about an anarchist group establishing a police-free zone in the city.
At Wednesday’s news conference, Inslee didn’t appear to be one of those with an interest.
Gov. Inslee on so-called “autonomous zone” on Capitol Hill:
“That’s news to me”. pic.twitter.com/L3LT86Zxgq
— Rebecca Perry (@Rebecca_Perry) June 10, 2020
”Governor, I’d like to ask you about what’s going on in Seattle and this thing called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” a reporter said. “What’s your thought about the fact that the protesters have taken that over and not allowing people to come and go freely?”
“That’s news to me, so I’ll have to reserve any comment about it. I have not heard anything about that,” Inslee said.
“From any credible source,” he added, giggling oddly. There’s really no other way to describe it.
“Not that you’re not credible, it’s just — before I espouse an opinion I should know of which I speak,” Inslee said, chuckling again.
In the nation’s capital late Wednesday, President Donald Trump published a Twitter post making it clear he was acutely aware of the situation in Seattle and blasting the protesters for the “Anarchists” they are.
“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,” Trump wrote. “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2020
As anyone who gave the matter a minute’s thought would realize, Trump has a good deal to think about besides what might be happening in a residential neighborhood of Seattle — a ferociously liberal city — at any given moment.
The governor of Washington, on the other hand, is pretty much paid a salary to know what’s going on in his state – including its largest, best-known city.
Inslee’s obvious ignorance didn’t play well when the video went public.
The Washington state Republican Party hammered him.
.@GovInslee is acting like he didn’t know protesters had taken over city hall and declared a “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” but…
It’s national news.
— Washington State GOP (@WAGOP) June 10, 2020
Seattle-based conservative talk show host Jason Rantz slammed Inslee.
Antifa, anarchists and community activist took an entire 6-block radius of his biggest city, have roaming armed guards doing ID checks, and Inslee has no clue.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING, INSLEE?!
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) June 10, 2020
On Thursday, Fox News reported that an unnamed Seattle police source said there had been no reports of violence but that armed demonstrators patrolled the perimeter of the zone and that some residents had been “forced to show ID to prove you ‘belong” there.’”
According to Fox, the source also said protesters were “starting to extort money from the local businesses within the border for ‘protection.'”
Knowing the identity of that source, and where the information came from, would go a long way toward determining how much of it to believe. And since Washington is an open-carry state when it comes to firearms, the fact that some demonstrators are, or might be, armed isn’t necessarily a danger sign. (If you were living in an “autonomous zone,” you’d probably want to be armed, too.)
According to a New York Times report, the autonomous zone is — naturally — a place of unalloyed joy, where sparkling water and snacks are available free of charge (though a hot dog can cost $6) and authorities are making sure portable toilets are available. (So these protesters are still sponging off the society they claim to loathe.)
But whatever the conditions are, the fact remains that a lawless element had taken control of a sizeable part of a major American city and the governor of the state where that city is located appeared to not have a clue that it was happening.
Jay Inslee might be the only Democrat on the national stage more out of touch than the man the party has chosen to run for president.
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