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Gov. Jay Inslee activates National Guard, responds to Trump's speech

Statewide protests and inflammatory rhetoric during a national crisis


Gov. Jay Inslee ordered a statewide activation of the Washington National Guard on Sunday, May 31 in response to the spread of destructive protests and looting in Washington state.

The activation will allow unarmed troops to be deployed in response to requests from local governments. The governor already authorized at least 600 troops earlier this weekend to help in Seattle and Bellevue.

The state received a request from Spokane County on May 31 for National Guard assistance after what was described as a rogue group began looting and damaging property in downtown Spokane. Earlier in the day, thousands of people protested peacefully.

Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, commander of the Washington National Guard, will work with local law enforcement to determine details of deployments in response to requests by cities or counties.

On Monday, June 1, President Donald J. Trump gave a remarkable speech from Rose Garden of the White House, where he declared, “I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement offices to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism assaults and the wanton destruction of property.”

The country has been gripped with protests nationwide as Americans react to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, under the knee of a City of Minneapolis Police Officer.

Amidst the peaceful protests have been disruptive actors, which the President characterized as “gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, Antifa and others,” in his Rose Garden Speech.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee released this statement shortly after the President’s remarks:

“This president has repeatedly proven he is incapable of governing. He has shown nothing but false bravado throughout the chaos that has accompanied his time in office. His admiration of authoritarians around the world should not allow him to violate 200 years of American tradition of local law enforcement. We have activated the National Guard in our state and made them available to any community who requests it.

“Our country is defined by our collective character and democratic ideals, not by reactionary calls for division and not by threatening Americans with their own military.”

Protests continued in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland and Snohomish areas again on Monday, June 1. Local law enforcement and city leaders continue to work with the National Guard to provide protection for property owners, business owners, onlookers and protestors as well as the right to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


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