First Seattle was an “anarchist jurisdiction.”
Now, we’re not.
All it took was a new president.
Five months after former President Donald Trump’s administration dubbed Seattle, New York and Portland as “anarchist jurisdictions” that permit “violence and destruction of property,” President Joe Biden revoked the label on Wednesday.
Trump’s label, issued last September in the heat of the presidential campaign, carried with it the threat that the administration could use it as part of a push to withhold federal funding. It also came at a time when Trump’s presidential campaign was increasingly focused on protests and riots in liberal cities, like Seattle, Portland and New York.
The three cities quickly filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, calling the anarchist label “arbitrary and capricious” and arguing it could not be used as a basis for withholding federal funds.
Seattle leaders blasted the designation when it was issued last fall and they did so again on Wednesday.
“Fortunately, Seattle no longer has to face the insanity of a President who governs by Twitter or political threats. President Trump’s baseless lawsuits targeted our city for standing up for immigrants, civil rights, and democracy as he further divided our country with hate,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said Wednesday, in a prepared statement.
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said that “a small part of me” would like to see the city’s lawsuit against the Trump administration head to court.
“But I much prefer seeing President Biden undo his predecessor’s will with a stroke of his pen,” Holmes said in a prepared statement. “I’m glad to have this nonsense cleared from the decks considering my office has no shortage of litigation to manage, from the eviction moratorium to hazard pay for frontline workers. Onward.”
Biden, on Wednesday, revoked the designation with little flourish.
“The following Presidential actions are revoked,” he wrote in an executive order, going on to list the order on anarchist jurisdictions as well as five others Trump had issued.
The Trump administration had cited the Capitol Hill Organized Protest area, a six-block area that police largely abandoned following days of often hostile clashes between police and protesters. At least two people were killed in or near the CHOP. Police cleared the area after about three weeks.
The six-block area was cleared nearly three months before the administration designated the entire city an anarchist jurisdiction. The Trump administration said the city “refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” even though the city had cleared the CHOP.
Trump earlier in his administration had tried to block federal funding from going to Seattle and other cities that did not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
He also said that coronavirus aid should not go to “sanctuary cities.”