Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Friday denied President Donald Trump’s claim that her decision to finally clear the “Capital Hill Organized Protest,” or CHOP came after the federal government threatened to do it first.
“It just never happened,” Durkan said, according to the Washington Post’s opinion blog The Plum Line written by Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman. “I don’t know what world he’s living in.
“He never contacted me or my office to warn us. We had no conversations whatsoever with the White House about anything related to the protests, Capitol Hill, or anything along these lines.”
Durkan’s response came a day after Trump told Fox News Channel’s eponymous opinion show host Sean Hannity that federal officials were ready to reclaim the area. Hannity asked if there was any truth to the rumor told to him by a source that federal law enforcement was planning to clear the area.
“A hundred percent,” Trump said.
“We were going in, we were going in very soon. We let them know that. And they, all of a sudden, they didn’t want that, so they went in before we got there. But we were going in very shortly, very soon, and we would have taken the CHOP I call it, CHOP, we would have taken it back very easily.
“But they went in, and frankly the people just gave up. They were tired. They had it for a long period of time. But because of the fact that we were going to go in.”
CHOP, originally established under the name the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ, was created by protesters as a police free zone following the death of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
The protesters cordoned off a six-block area on June 8 after police abandoned a precinct. Durkan called it an exercise in First Amendment rights and a “summer of love.”
However, there were four shootings within 10 days in or near the zone that left two dead before police reclaimed the area on July 1.
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