Washington Governor Inslee’s Profile Rises With Trump-Thumping

Ex-congressman downplays inclusion in 2020 presidential conversation

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington has gained national exposure after the state's legal wins in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

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 state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, has done a few victory laps after the state’s wins earlier this month in a lawsuit to block Trump’s order temporarily halting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“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 said on MSNBC the same day.

The Democratic governor’s pushback against Trump coupled with his advocacy for refugees have resonated with many Democrats nationwide, and some are going as far as 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 speculation.

But presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told the newspaper that he has thought for a while that Inslee could prove “the ideal Democratic nominee” in 2020.

“Optimism is the great oxygen in American politics,” Brinkley said, adding that the governor has a sunny and approachable style that could play well in the age of Trump.

Brinkley pointed out that there hasn’t been a president from the Pacific Northwest. That could be due to the political culture in the region, according to Margaret O’Mara, a history professor at the University of Washington.  

“It kind of goes against the grain of the way Washington State political culture works. … It tends to be about collaboration,” O’Mara told the newspaper.

Inslee, 66, won his second term in November with 54 percent of the vote over Republican Bill Bryant.

He currently serves as vice chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, and is set to take over as chairman next year.  

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