President Trump tweeted late Wednesday night that if Seattle's leaders don't "take back" their city now, he will, as protesters have taken over a portion of the city that's become an "autonomous zone."
The Seattle Police Department has conceded several blocks of the city, boarding up windows and letting those protesting the death of George Floyd to do as they see fit. Mr. Trump, who hasn't ruled out the use of the Insurrection Act, threatened to "take back" the city from the "anarchists" if necessary.
"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 IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!"
"Anarchists just took over Seattle and the Liberal Democrat Governor just said he knows "nothing about that," the president tweeted on Thursday.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan responded to the president by telling him to "go back to your bunker," a reference to the president's brief visit to the White House's underground bunker when the protests outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue became chaotic. Mr. Trump claimed he visited the bunker for an "inspection," but Attorney General Bill Barr later said the Secret Service recommended the president go to the bunker as a safety precaution.
Mr. Trump has used his Twitter account to express his desire for forceful measures against protesters in the last several weeks, as people have taken to the streets to speak out against police brutality and racial inequality and in some cities, vandalism and other crimes have also taken place.
It's not entirely clear what Mr. Trump, who has long feuded with Inslee, meant by his threat to take over Seattle, if necessary. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said last week that he opposes using the centuries-old Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty troops to states to quell protests, something that didn't sit well with the White House after Mr. Trump has threatened to send the military to states to "dominate the streets."
The president is expected to discuss possible policing reforms in Texas on Thursday.