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President Donald Trump issued a threat to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan late Wednesday night, tweeting that if they don’t clear the impromptu anarchist commune that's sprung up in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, “I will.”
The autonomous zone, six blocks of east Seattle that were seized by protesters and set up when the Seattle Police Department abandoned its East Precinct earlier this week, has been described by the New York Times as “part-commune, part-street festival.” This appears to be Trump’s worst nightmare, as he said that these “ugly anarchists must be stooped” (sic), and threatened to intervene if Inslee and Durkan wouldn’t.
In a later tweet, Trump called the protesters “domestic terrorists.”
After Trump’s second tweet, Durkan responded, telling the president to “go back to your bunker,” a reference to Trump heading underground during the first weekend of protests in May. (Trump has claimed he was just down there for a tiny short time, inspecting it.)
Inslee, on the other hand, basically told Trump to stay out of it.
As their top elected officials bickered online Wednesday night, autonomous zoners screened the documentary "Paris Is Burning" and watched a set by a local Seattle funk and hip-hop band, according to the Seattle Times.
So far the city has not indicated that it will try to force the protesters out. To the contrary, Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins was there on Wednesday talking with protesters and “making sure the area had portable toilets and sanitation services,” according to the New York Times.
“I have no idea where we’re headed,” Scoggins told the New York 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.”
Correction 6/11 12:47 pm ET: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the timing of President Trump's tweet. The text has been updated.
Cover: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan speaks at a news conference about the coronavirus outbreak Monday, March 16, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, Pool); President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky).