CBS News’ John Dickerson interviewed Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on “Face the Nation” Sunday, but failed to bring up the “autonomous zone” that saw businesses destroyed, police prohibited, and violence unchecked in Seattle for nearly a month.
Dickerson interviewed the Democratic governor about the state’s recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, the importance of wearing masks, how the pandemic affects the state’s agricultural industry, and Washington’s plan for reopening colleges. At no point, however, did Dickerson ask Inslee to discuss the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” or “CHAZ,” which occupants had since renamed an “occupied protest,” or “CHOP.”
For weeks, protesters occupied about six blocks of downtown Seattle, insisting they would not return the district to the public until their demands were met. Demands included abolishing the police department, releasing felons, and enacting segregation in hospitals. Armed vigilantes enforced the borders of the occupied zone, where shootings occurred without police protection.
Yet all Dickerson asked Inslee about was the state’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus, which has already been the subject of news coverage for over four months.
With no acknowledgment of the mass protests sweeping Washington state, Inslee implied the increase in coronavirus cases was due to people not wearing masks. He also blamed President Donald Trump, saying, “We sure could use some leadership from the president.”
The president has also criticized Inslee for his lack of leadership in response to CHAZ/CHOP. In a tweet addressing Inslee by name, Trump called on him to “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will.”
In response, Inslee insisted the protests were “largely peaceful,” and refused to intervene with what he called “military violence.”
I spoke with @MayorJenny and her team about the situation on Capitol Hill. Although unpermitted, and we should remember we are still in a pandemic, the area is largely peaceful. Peaceful protests are fundamentally American, and I am hopeful there will be a peaceful resolution.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) June 11, 2020
As a result, the anarchist settlement continued in Washington’s largest city for weeks.
In the CBS interview with Dickerson, Inslee touted information as the ultimate way to fight the virus. Inslee himself, however, was uninformed about the “autonomous zone” set up in downtown Seattle. In a press briefing on June 10, when a reporter asked him about CHAZ/CHOP, Inslee responded, “That’s news to me.”