Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was beseeching residents on Friday who planned to protest over the weekend to remain peaceful and not “take the bait” from U.S. President Donald Trump.
Watch the mayor’s remarks in the player above.
Durkan spoke at a news conference after Trump announced he’s sending federal agents to multiple cities to help combat rising crime, expanding the administration’s intervention into local enforcement as he runs for reelection under a “law and order” mantle.
Using the same alarmist language he has employed to describe illegal immigration, Trump painted Democrat-led cities as out of control and lashed out at the “radical left,” which he blamed for rising violence in some cities, even though criminal justice experts say it defies easy explanation.
“It is frightening that you would use federal agents for political purposes. We know the president, by his own words, has stated he is doing that. He is purposely targeting cities run by Democrats,” Durkan said. “Please don’t take the bait. Don’t buy into it. Be peaceful.”
The decision to dispatch federal agents to American cities is playing out at a hyper-politicized moment when Trump is grasping for a new reelection strategy after the coronavirus upended the economy, dismantling what his campaign had seen as his ticket to a second term.
With less than four months until Election Day, Trump has been warning that violence will worsen if his Democratic rival Joe Biden is elected in November and Democrats have a chance to make the police reforms they have endorsed after the killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests demanding racial justice.