Pardon me, mayor, but you have no right to speak for a sovereign country.
If anyone’s going to threaten Trump on behalf of the CHAZ, it’ll be Secretary-General Raz Simone.
Are we looking a gift horse in the mouth, by the way? If Democratic cities want to turn over parts of their jurisdictions to smelly communes, that seems win/win for everyone. Let young wokesters in purple states pack up and strike out for bluer pastures. They can set up anarcho-syndicalist mini-states there, tear each other apart, and scare the working-class people around them into voting conservative for years to come.
Best-case scenario: All of America’s hippies end up taking over and packing into a single city, which can then be walled off like in “Escape from New York.”
The mayor of Seattle said it would be unconstitutional and illegal for President Trump to send the military into the city to clear protesters occupying a neighborhood, as he has suggested https://t.co/2f4GDoiCKh pic.twitter.com/iMM38PRxgJ
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 12, 2020
This idiot sounds like she’s on the brink of defecting to the CHAZ herself:
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says the six-block autonomous zone in her city known as CHAZ, where armed Antifa types have driven off police and set up checkpoints, is "more like a block party atmosphere" than an "armed takeover." pic.twitter.com/5S5RcXyID1
— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) June 12, 2020
I’m not nearly as sure as she is that it’d be “illegal” and “unconstitutional” for Trump to use U.S. troops. (And I don’t know that any retired officers, like James Mattis, have claimed that it would be.) It’d be heinous and fascistic for him to use military force against Americans without good reason to believe that local authorities can’t handle the situation, but I thought we just spent a week recognizing that the president does have this authority under the Insurrection Act. By custom, he only uses the military when the state requests help. But not by law, and not even always by custom. As Tom Cotton noted in his now-famous op-ed, Eisenhower obviously didn’t receive a plea for help from Orval Faubus when he used the military to implement desegregation in Arkansas.
Whether the current military leadership would agree to carry out an order to retake the CHAZ over the objections of local officials is a separate question. According to NBC, Mark Milley erupted on June 1 when Trump started chattering about sending in the troops to quell rioting.
A discussion ensued over invoking the Insurrection Act to send in active-duty troops to quash the unrest triggered by the death of George Floyd, the official said, but Esper, Milley and Barr all pushed back on the idea.
Milley became so fired up explaining why using active-duty troops was dangerous that he shook his fists to emphasize his points, according to three defense officials familiar with the meeting.
Milley also reportedly considered resigning over his unplanned stroll through Lafayette Park although he ended up opting for a public apology instead. If Trump tells him to invade the CHAZ and Milley refuses, it should be simple enough for the president to fire him and appoint Dan Bongino or Sean Hannity chairman of the Joint Chiefs instead. They’ll do it.
Speaking of which, the president is seizing this opportunity with his usual aplomb and understatement:
There’s nothing but upside for him politically in highlighting a Democratic mayor in a Democratic state all but endorsing a total breakdown in law enforcement in part of the capital. The Democratic governor also seems more concerned about Trump’s threats than with Seattle ceding control of several city blocks to demonstrators, some of whom are armed:
This is a challenging time. Many in our state are expressing heartfelt outrage at the very real racial injustices in our society. We have work to do now and in the future to both advance equity and protect the gains we’ve made.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) June 11, 2020
What we will not allow are threats of military violence against Washingtonians coming from the White House.
The U.S. military serves to protect Americans, not the fragility of an insecure president.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) June 11, 2020
At some point, probably sooner than later, Biden and the national Democratic leadership are going to start getting itchy about Inslee and Durkan allowing this to go on. They have major electoral momentum at the moment; polling shows Americans shifting left on matters of race and police reform. The left is trying to start a fire to burn that down by hyperventilating about defunding the police but Biden and practically every other senior Dem has worked to douse it by calling it a nonstarter. The last thing they need now is a spectacle of law and order breaking down in Seattle in front of news cameras, seemingly with the approval of local authorities, at a moment when Trump’s trying to pivot the campaign to a “law and order” message.
At the very least they should want Inslee and Durkan to begin chatting with the occupiers to see if there’s a way to get them to leave without having to use heavy-handed police tactics, which would create a very different kind of political liability. The status quo is unsustainable, though, no matter how much the hippie mayor wishes it were otherwise.