President Trump tweeted late Wednesday that “domestic terrorists” have taken over an area in Seattle amid George Floyd protests and blamed the city’s “radical left Democrats” for contributing to the unrest.
"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 tweeted. "Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped (sic) IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!"
His tweet did not go unanswered. Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat, took a swipe at Trump, and responded, "Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker. #BlackLivesMatter."
Attorney General William Barr told Fox News that on May 29 the unrest was tense near the White House and "the Secret Service recommended the president go down to the bunker. We can’t have that in our country.”
Gov. Jay Inslee also fired back at Trump on Twitter, posting, "A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. 'Stoop' tweeting."
Hundreds of protesters stormed Seattle's City Hall Tuesday night to demand Durkan's resignation, just days after seizing a six-block downtown zone that includes a shuttered police precinct. Demonstrators remained peaceful, without reports of violence or injuries, but are pushing Durkan to step down if she refuses to defund the city's police department.
The city just suffered a weekend of unrest, where officers used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse demonstrators in the area after they say they were assaulted with projectiles. Several city council members say police overreacted and needlessly exacerbated tensions.
The Seattle Times reported Wednesday that the area in the Capitol Hill section of the city has been called CHAZ and it is “free of uniformed police.” The paper reported that the nearby police precinct that was shuttered during the protests had a new sign on Tuesday that read, “THIS SPACE IS NOW PROPERTY OF THE SEATTLE PEOPLE.”
House Judiciary Committee member Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., told "Hannity" Wednesday that "Antifa has now designated Seattle their capital" after the protesters declared a six-block neighborhood around the precinct a "Cop Free Zone."
Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette said barriers were removed from the front of the precinct after it became a flashpoint between officers and protesters. Police also have remained scarce in that area and in the several nights since protests have continued peacefully.
Nollette said police want to discuss reopening the precinct and noted officers are responding to 911 calls in the area, the report said. She said protesters have set up their own barricades, which are intimidating to some residents.
“We are dedicated to working with peaceful protesters on a way to move forward,” Nollette said. “There’s a whole citywide effort to try to identify who the leaders are. It’s just a matter of establishing a dialogue so we can take down the plywood and welcome people back into the lobby.”
This is not the first time that Trump has called out state and city leadership in dealing with protests.
Last month, while looting and arson raged in Minneapolis, Trump tweeted, “I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” Trump tweeted. “A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right."
Trump appears intent on positioning himself as the law-and-order candidate in 2020. There is a push among some Democrats to defund police which has put Joe Biden in a tough position of trying to bring together the moderates and the liberals of the party about the best approach on policing.
Biden was interviewed by Trevor Noah, the host of “The Daily Show,” and was asked, “If you were to become president, do you think that there would be a world where defunding the police would be a solution?”
“Well, I think there are a lot of changes that can take place, period, without having to defund the police completely,” Biden said. He continued, “I don’t think the police should be defunded. But I think that conditions should be placed upon them where departments are having to take significant reforms."
Fox News' Charles Creitz, Vandana Rambaran and The Associated Press contributed to this report.