“Your hate is not welcome in our state,” said Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee said at a gathering of Donald Trump critics. Trump will hold rallies Saturday in Spokane and Lynden, Whatcom County.
While thousands of supporters of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump snatched up tickets to a pair of planned rallies Saturday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and other critics rolled out the unwelcome mat.
In his first campaign trip to Washington, Trump is scheduled to speak at noon in Spokane and at 3 p.m. in Lynden, Whatcom County — a town of about 13,000 near the Canadian border.
The arrival of the New York billionaire ahead of the May 24 presidential primary had law enforcement scrambling to plan security. Protests at a Trump rally in California last week turned violent after some demonstrators reportedly threw rocks and stomped on cars outside the arena.
State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, a state leader for the Trump campaign, said he hopes that won’t be repeated here.
“I’m optimistic that the people of Washington state can show we’re different. Trump supporters should have a right to hear Trump,” he said.
But Inslee, a Democrat, joined other critics Friday at Seattle’s El Centro de la Raza, a Beacon Hill community center, to denounce Trump’s rhetoric as offensive and out of step with the values of Washington state.
During a news conference with groups representing women, immigrants, Muslims and others, Inslee called Trump dangerous and likened him to a schoolyard bully compensating for his own insecurities.
“I know that Mr. Trump is a millionaire with a million insecurities,” Inslee said. “If you are watching this show right now, hear this: Your hate is not welcome in our state.”
Attendees at the news conference accused Trump of emboldening racists with his rhetoric and proposals such as a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.
Varisha Khan, a student at the University of Washington, said she is a proud Muslim American who has experienced threats herself, including a brick thrown through the window of a local mosque.
“Hate speech leads to hate crimes,” she said.
Trump’s Lynden rally is scheduled to be held outdoors at the Northwest Washington Fair and Event Center, with a capacity of about 5,000 people. While Lynden is relatively small, it is not far from the college town of Bellingham — and protesters from Seattle and elsewhere were making plans to head up Interstate 5.
Authorities in Whatcom County were advising anyone going to the event to heed security requirements.
No firearms, knives of any size, umbrellas, signs, banners or tripods will be allowed at the rally, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
The Sheriff’s Office said attendees will be required to walk through a screening device similar to those for airport security. Large bags are prohibited and small bags could be searched.
“A good rule of thumb to follow: Do not bring any items to the event that would not be allowed through screening at an airport checkpoint,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Sheriff’s Office said it is “not allowed” to release specific information about planned security, but said the Secret Service is assisting, as is Homeland Security, Lynden police and the Washington State Patrol.
“We hope those who attend or are in the area during rallies will do their part to ensure civility defines our actions,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
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It also urged people to arrive early and to expect heavy traffic and trouble with parking.
Seattleites bound for the rally may have an especially difficult time getting through Marysville, where the Washington Department of Transportation says Interstate 5 will be limited to two lanes on Saturday for construction at the Ebey Slough Bridge.
The fact that Trump skipped the Seattle area in favor of a more remote locale was greeted as a win by Nicole Grant, executive secretary-treasurer of the M.L. King County Labor Council, one of the groups that vowed major protests if Trump tried to speak in the area.
“We feel good. There is not going to be a Donald Trump rally in King County. He saw that the well was poisoned,” Grant said.
Trump campaign officials say they were not intimidated at all and did try to organize an event in a hangar at Seattle’s Boeing Field — but that the plan fell through.
Ericksen said “we had it all lined up” but could not get the required permit from King County, leaving him scrambling to nail down the alternate location.
County officials said there was no unfair treatment.
Frank Abe, a spokesman for the King County transportation department, said Ericksen had been talking with a private tenant at the airport about holding his rally in a hangar.
Abe said the tenant was reminded that a detailed security and parking plan was required for nonaviation uses of the airport. Such a plan was never submitted to airport officials, he said.
Airport Director Randall Berg said the county’s actions were “absolutely not” politically motivated.
Berg said a planned rally of that size is unprecedented on the east side of the airfield and would have been a big logistical problem — even before considering possible protests outside. He said the tenant, whom he said did not want to be identified, ultimately agreed and did not formally seek a permit.
Ericksen said he also explored Paine Field in Everett but was unable to agree on terms there.
A contract to use the fairgrounds in Lynden was finalized Thursday night.
Ericksen shrugged off the challenges. “Lynden is nicer than Seattle,” he said.
Information in this article, originally published May 6, 2016, was corrected May 7, 2016. A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Varisha Khan’s name.