OLYMPIA — After a rally in front of the state Capitol, dozens of Trump supporters were able to open a door in a driveway gate and stream up to the governor’s mansion, where they waved flags and chanted slogans as law enforcement stood guard on the front porch.
“Whose house — our house” some chanted, and one man planted a big red and white sign that declared, “Trump won 2020.”
Some of the protesters were armed.
The roughly half-hour standoff with law enforcement ended as the group decided to leave the grounds rather than risk arrest.
A spokesman for the Washington State Patrol said that no arrests were made and Gov. Jay Inslee was in a “safe location,” without specifying where that was.
Inslee, in a recorded address to Washingtonians, said he and his wife, Trudi, were at the residence Wednesday night and were “doing just fine.”
He said that a day that was supposed to be dedicated to preparing for the opening of the legislative session was “forcefully interrupted” by what he called acts of attempted intimidation.
“Those acts of intimidation will not succeed in any way, shape or form,” Inslee said. “We will continue the work we are doing to protect the health of Washingtonians.”
It was unclear how the Trump supporters were able to open the gate. But after rattling it someone was able to push open a door that allows pedestrians entrance to the residence grounds. Trump supporters briefly appeared surprised at the ease with which it opened, and then urged one another to enter.
As they moved forward, one state trooper told them to stop, then retreated — walking backward to the front of the mansion with a weapon drawn that appeared to be a Taser.
The mansion was initially protected by state troopers. Later, other law enforcement officers, including from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and the Olympia police, arrived.
The standoff followed the rally at the Capitol that drew a larger crowd of several hundred Trump supporters. It was held on a tense day when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., as Congress started the process of certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
In Olympia, news of the events in D.C. were relayed to many of the Northwest Trump supporters as they checked their cellphones.
Underneath an awning, several women said they were troubled by what happened in D.C. and wanted to get more details because they were wary of initial news reports.
“I don’t agree with any violence. I think the majority of Trump supporters are peaceful,” said a woman who only gave her first name as Sara.
Others took a different view.
“I think it’s time to give violence a chance,” said one man who declined to be identified but whose remarks were welcomed by several other men nearby.
On the lawn in front of the Capitol, one man spoke to two others about a plan he had worked on to forcefully take over some government buildings in Washington state.
The rally speakers included Joey Gibson, of Patriot Prayer, who has been making numerous appearances around Washington and Oregon to encourage restaurant and bar owners to defy state government COVID-19 restrictions against indoor dining.
During the Wednesday speeches the COVID-19 restrictions drew more criticism, as did the vaccination program. But Gibson and others spent much of their time talking about an election stolen from Trump by voter fraud, allegations that have been repeatedly rejected by courts.
Seattle Times photographer Alan Berner contributed to this report.