South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Seattle, WA Mayor Jenny Durkan traded jabs over remarks Noem made during her speech for the virtual Republican National Convention Wednesday evening, and while liberal Democrat Durkan is defending her city, many readers of the Seattle Times—her hometown newspaper—aren’t convinced she’s got facts on her side.
Noem made this observation during her televised speech, as quoted by the Seattle Times: “From Seattle and Portland to Washington and New York, Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs. The violence is rampant. There’s looting, chaos, destruction and murder.”
But the Sioux Falls Argus Leader carried a fuller quote that included this: “People that can afford to flee have fled,” Noem said from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in the nation’s capital. “But the people that can’t — good, hard-working Americans — are left to fend for themselves.”
Quickly responding on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, Durkan declared, “Her caricature of the great cities across America is not only wrong, it’s purposefully wrong. I think she needs to get off Twitter and get off Fox News and come see our city.”
Durkan insisted Seattle is thriving, with a 5 percent decline in violent crime, and rising home prices with young families moving in.
But according to a July report by Seattle’s KOMO News—the local ABC affiliate—“More and more people are seeking to sell their homes and move out of Seattle area, according to a newly released report.
“The report,” KOMO continued, “by Seattle-based online residential real estate company Redfin, found that the number of home sellers looking to leave the Seattle metro area has jumped to 13.7%, compared with 11.2% at the same time last year.”
Damaging Durkan’s argument further was a June 26 piece in the Wall Street Journal by departing Seattle businessman Peter Rex that said this in the first paragraph: “I’m moving my business headquarters off the West Coast. We tried San Francisco. We tried the Seattle area. Both were wonderful in their own ways, especially in natural beauty and personal friendships. But both have become hostile to the principles and policies that enable people to live abundantly in the broadest sense.”
And Mayor Durkan apparently overlooked Seattle homicides, which are up 44 percent over this time last year. A check of Seattle Police Department data suggests the mayor doesn’t consider murder a “violent crime.” And she apparently doesn’t read the Seattle Times very closely, else she would have seen veteran columnist Danny Westneat’s entry last week headlined “Seattle City Hall silent on homicide spike.” Westneat ripped the city government’s collective lockjaw when he wrote this about a homicide that occurred 10 days ago: “It was the 28th homicide this year, matching the number for all of last year. We’re only in August.”
With four months to go in 2020, it’s a safe bet the body count will climb enough so that even Durkan can’t ignore it, at which point—if history is any indication—the mayor and city council, and the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby will figure a way to blame it on guns and their owners.
Which is why something else Noem said during her convention remarks would hardly pass Durkan’s lips: “Our constitution guarantees…the right to arm ourselves as a counter-balance to a standing army.” You could almost hear embattled gun rights activists nodding in approval.