Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced late Thursday that a “limited number” of federal agents have been sent to Seattle, reports CBS Portland, Oregon affiliate KOIN-TV.
Seattle wasn’t mentioned when President Trump said earlier Thursday that he’ll send federal agents into Chicago and Albuquerque to help combat rising crime, or in a subsequent White House news release saying the program would be expanded in the next few weeks into Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee, as well.
The decision to dispatch federal agents to American cities is playing out at a hyper-politicized moment in American politics. With less than four months until Election Day, Mr. Trump has been taking up the “law and order” mantle, warning that the violence will worsen if his Democratic rival Joe Biden wins in November.
Inslee made his announcement in series of tweets, blasting the Trump administration for not being honest about its intentions but saying the federal agents in Seattle would be “on standby, if needed”:
After a day of conflicting messages from the federal government, where they told my staff repeatedly that there was no surge of additional personnel to Seattle, it appears they are doing just that.
Now we are hearing a different story where they have a limited number of agents who are in the area on standby, if needed. I am concerned that anything could aggravate the situation, and in their rush they are not listening to @mayorjenny and Chief @carmenbest.
Inslee was referring to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
It is critical that the administration only provide what is needed by state and local officials, and do not engage unless asked.
Inslee’s announcement came on the 56th straight night of demonstrations in Portland against police brutality and for racial justice. The use of federal agents there has proven highly controversial.
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