The Olympia press corps were introduced to a new and significantly less cheery side of Gov. Jay Inslee’s personality on Wednesday when the Democratic governor flashed a bit of testosterone and temper after his effort to have a sit-down with scandal-plagued state Auditor Troy Kelley was called into question, according to the Seattle Times.
From the Times: [Ed. bold added]
John Stang, a reporter with Crosscut, an online Seattle news site, … [asked] why Inslee hadn’t demanded a sit-down meeting since the two elected officials’ offices are in adjacent buildings. “Isn’t that sort of weak?” Stang asked.
The question appeared to steam Inslee, who responded, “No, John, it isn’t weak, and you and I have to go out in the alleyway and decide who is weak on this. You’ve hit my hot button on that.”
Hot button, indeed.
The press snark on Twitter was priceless and made entirely at the governor’s expense.
To be fair, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie turned buffaloing the press into a political franchise capable of earning himself national media attention and mention as a possible presidential contender. But this isn’t Jersey and Inslee isn’t Christie. Most importantly, the pressure on Inslee to perform the alpha dog duties of a party leader is not likely to weaken.
In a nutshell, Kelley’s troubles do not seem likely to go away anytime soon and bullying reporters should not make reporters stop asking Inslee probing questions.
Kelley has been embroiled in controversy since it became public in March that federal agents had raided his Tacoma home and subpoenaed auditor’s office records as part of a criminal investigation. Though he has not been charged with a crime, his involvement in the investigation has allowed questions about Kelley’s business dealings prior to holding public office to resurface.
Kelley’s refusal to directly answer questions about the current investigation have prompted many including the State Republican Party and the Seattle Times Editorial Board (who endorsed Kelley during the 2012 campaign, despite swirling allegations of wrongdoing) to call for the embattled auditor to resign.