Politics

Seattle Mayor To Trump: "Go Back To Your Bunker" After He Pushed Protest Intervention

Meanwhile, protesters have laid claim to an area outside a vacated police station in Seattle and dubbed it the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”

President Donald Trump challenged Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to "take back your city" after protesters have formed an autonomous zone without police. | Getty Images
President Donald Trump challenged Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to "take back your city" after protesters have formed an autonomous zone without police. | Getty Images

After President Trump threatened to intervene in ongoing protests in Seattle and criticized elected officials’ responses, the city’s mayor Jenny Durkan clapped back with a scathing retort: “Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker.” 

The state's Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, formerly a presidential candidate, also mocked a misspelling in Trump’s now-deleted tweet and wrote, “A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state's business. 'Stoop' tweeting.” Trump's tweet had read, “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game.”

Durkan’s response references a report that Trump had spent nearly an hour in an emergency bunker at the White House during the first week of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. (After facing criticism, Trump claimed he was “inspecting” the bunker, but his attorney general Bill Barr has contradicted him, saying the Secret Service recommended the president go underground for safety.) 

Like nearly every major city in the U.S., Seattle has seen weeks of mostly peaceful demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality. 

While Trump lashed out via Twitter on Wednesday night at Washington State officials, protesters gathered across several Seattle blocks in what the New York Times describes as  “part-commune, part-street festival.” Protesters have this week laid claim to an area outside a police station, which officers have vacated, and dubbed it the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” — a scene that’s reminiscent of the 2011 Occupy protest, the Seattle Times reported.

On Wednesday, protesters reportedly watched the documentary “Paris is Burning,” a film about drag queens and “house culture” in ‘80s New York City, and held a concert by a hip-hop/funk band. 

In a separate tweet, Trump referred to the demonstrators as “Domestic Terrorists” and repeated his threat of “LAW AND ORDER!” In recent weeks, Trump has threatened to use military force on protesters if state officials don’t intervene, which former military leaders have swiftly condemned

A popup shop with free snacks, water, and other items is seen near the Seattle Police Departments East Precinct on June 9, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Protests have continued in many parts of the city including inside City Hall and around the Seattle Police Departments East Precinct, an area that has earned the moniker "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone." | Getty Images

On Tuesday, City Councilmember Kshama Sawant helped lead the protesters to storm City Hall. Activists have been outraged over police’s use of tear gas and rubber bullets as recently as Sunday night, in defiance of restrictions on tear gas that Mayor Durkan and the City’s Police Chief Carmen Best agreed to last week. Following the violence, some  members of the city council have since called on Durkan to resign, local outlet Q13 reported

A group including Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington filed a lawsuit on June 9 against the city over officers’ use of “unnecessary violence” at protests. A spokesperson for Durkan told Courthouse News that she and Best are “committed to a thorough and complete review and report of the Seattle Police Department’s response to the protests and have already implemented a series of changes.”

At the autonomous zone on Wednesday, a fire chief was present to ensure the area had sanitation services and portable toilets, the New York Times reported
 
“I have no idea where we’re headed,” chief Harold Scoggins told The Times. “We’ve been working step by step on how to build a relationship, build trust in small things, so we can figure this out together.”
 
A spokesperson for the police also debunked online rumors that “armed Antifa militants” have gathered at the site in a statement to CNN.