Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s national profile is on the rise as an outspoken advocate for the state’s legal battle against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Inslee, along with the state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, has done a few victory laps after the state’s wins in a lawsuit to block Trump’s order on halting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries in early February.
“He got thumped,” Inslee, a former congressman, told CNN on Feb. 9, responding to Trump’s immediate tweet to appeal.
“SEE YOU IN COURT,” Trump tweeted.
“We just saw him in court. He lost,” Inslee retorted on MSNBC the same day.
The Democratic governor’s pushback to Trump and advocacy for refugees have resonated, and some are going as far to include him in the 2020 presidential mix.
“I love this job. It’s really not in the stars. I am focused on this,” Inslee said in an interview with the Seattle Times, dismissing such thoughts.
But presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, told the newspaper that he has thought for a while Inslee could prove “the ideal Democratic nominee” in 2020.
“Optimism is the great oxygen in American politics,” Brinkley said, arguing that the governor has a sunny and approachable style that could play well in the age of Trump.
But the Pacific Northwest has never produced a president, possibly the result of the political culture in the region, Margaret O’Mara, a history professor at the University of Washington, told the newspaper.
“It kind of goes against the grain of the way Washington state political culture works… it tends to be about collaboration,” O’Mara said.
Inslee, 66, won his second term in November with 54 percent of the vote over Republican Bill Bryant.
In 2018, Inslee will chair the Democratic Governors Association, for which he now serves as vice chairman now, which will give him the opportunity to meet with prominent Democrats and donors around the country.