Sequim mayor apologizes after sharing his support of QAnon

Some bemoaned his trip to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, called a virus “superspreader” by researchers.

Sequim Mayor William Armacost

Sequim Mayor William Armacost

SEQUIM — Following his recent on-air support for QAnon on 91.5 FM and vacation trip to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sequim Mayor William Armacost faced some opposition from residents Monday — some asking for his resignation.

However, city councilors opted not to take action, saying it was a matter of free speech and free will.

Armacost answered a question posed at the Coffee with the Mayor program in late August on KSQM 91.5 FM, encouraging people to investigate QAnon, a set of conspiracy theories involving pedophiles plotting against President Donald Trump.

Armacost later apologized via press release about sharing his beliefs as a city representative.

Councilor Sarah Kincaid said Monday night she read the emails against Armacost and felt people were complaining about his personal life rather than actions as mayor.

Kincaid noted that residents have complained about his Sturgis trip and demanded he quarantine following his return, but that it would be hypocritical to not ask the same of all residents who travel off the peninsula.

“The idea that we have an ‘Idea Police’ in Sequim is frightening,” she said.

“Every name I recognize (in the emails) would consider themselves a liberal. How liberal are you if you would stifle all speech other than your own?”

Councilor Brandon Janisse said he didn’t have an issue with what Armacost said, but rather, “it’s where he said it.”

Janisse said he was concerned about a negative light being placed on the city.

On Monday, Sequim city councilors discussed Mayor William Armacost’s (bottom right) recent opinions on KSQM 91.5 FM about supporting QAnon during a question-and-answer time on the Coffee with the Mayor segment. (City of Sequim)

On Monday, Sequim city councilors discussed Mayor William Armacost’s (bottom right) recent opinions on KSQM 91.5 FM about supporting QAnon during a question-and-answer time on the Coffee with the Mayor segment. (City of Sequim)

Public comments Monday included some for and against Armacost.

Sequim resident Karen Hogan phoned into public comments asking for Armacost to resign or for city councilors to remove him. She said Armacost used his position to promote a presidential candidate and anti-semitic propaganda, and in his letter to the editor response (Sequim Gazette, Aug. 19), she felt it was “more like the lunatic ravings of a cult leader than an elected official.”

She said Armacost’s “opinions about public health are based on a profound misunderstanding of the immune system and conspiracy theories that have no basis in reality.

“You, of course, have the right to your opinions and beliefs, but as mayor you have an obligation to protect the health and welfare of Sequim residents and follow the law,” Hogan said.

Karen Grayheck of Sequim disagreed with Hogan, saying Armacost has stood up for democracy of Washington and Sequim.

“He knows the constitution and he abides by the constitution,” she said.

“He honors people of all nationalities. This is a man who should not be removed from city council. I encourage the other council members to remember what he has accomplished and all the positives and to stand behind your mayor.”

Deputy Mayor Tom Ferrell said in his seven-plus months on city council, he’s found his interactions with Armacost to be apolitical with no mention of conspiracies.

“His decisions have been mainstream and reasonable, and his dialogue has been appropriate and professional,” he said.

As for QAnon, he said he doesn’t plan to look it up but felt that freedom of speech applies with it and the mayor.

In reference to Armacost’s recent trip to Sturgis — an event that some researchers have called a “superspreader” of the COVID-19 virus — Ferrell said hopes everyone takes care of themselves anywhere they go.

“It’s important to trust the people in our community,” he said.

Ferrell asked city councilors and staff to “remember it may cause a lot of work on the seven members of the council” when commenting on something controversial.

“We all have to deal with this. We’re all getting behind because of emails,” he said.

As for the emails they’ve received on Armacost, Ferrell said they felt like a “gotcha format” and he can’t read them anymore.

“I have to get back to business,” he said.

“I want you all to understand. I’ve said this since day one. There are 7,860 people in this town. I’m guessing almost all of them want us to get back to business.

“Be productive and focus on economic development and safety: that’s going to be my focus.”

Talk to us

More in Northwest

Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp smiles while greeting supporters at a rally Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Mount Vernon, Wash. Culp, police chief of the town of Republic, Wash., is running against incumbent Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee in November. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Culp is an atypical GOP candidate for Washington governor

Unlike most previous GOP candidates for the state’s top office, he is a first-time politician.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee poses for a photo, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Olympia, Wash. Inslee, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Loren Culp, police chief of the small town of Republic, Wash., in the Nov. 3 election. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Inslee faces political newcomer as he seeks rare third term

The last three-term governor in Washington was Republican Dan Evans, from 1965 to 1977.

CORRECTS NAME OF CANDIDATE AT LEFT TO MAIA ESPINOZA INSTEAD OF OF MONICA MARCHETTI - Maia Espinoza, a candidate for Washington state superintendent of public instruction, is shown at left in an undated photo taken by Monica Marchetti and provided by her campaign. Espinoza is challenging incumbent state superintendent Chris Reykdal, right, shown in an AP photo taken Oct. 2, 2020, in Olympia, Wash., in the upcoming November election. (AP Photo)
COVID and sex education frame the state superintendent race

Maia Espinoza, 31, is challenging incumbent Chris Reykdal, 48. They are both parents — with divergent views.

Top (L-R): Suzan DelBene, Jeffrey Beeler, Rick Larsen. Bottom (L-R): Pramila Jayapal, Craig Keller, Tim Hazelo.
COVID isn’t the only issue in contests for three House seats

Incumbent Democrats face challengers who talk about immigration, federal spending and term limits.

Washington submits virus vaccine distribution plan to CDC

The state is working with local government, health care providers and others.

** ADVANCE SUNDAY EDITIONS DEC. 5 ** In this photo released by the Bureau of Land Management, bighorn sheep graze in a meadow on Little Vulcan Mountain, near Curlew, Wash., Nov. 23, 2004. Contract loggers for the BLM have thinned stands of Douglas fir, killed weeds and planted shrubs the wild sheep savor, all to protect the Little Vulcan Mountain herd from extinction. The idea is to open up thickets surrounding the meadow where the herd forages and bears its young, allowing them to see and escape from predators. (AP Photo/Bureau of Land Management, Glenn Paulson)
Bighorn sheep in Washington tests positive for disease

There is no treatment for wild bighorn sheep, and no preventative vaccine.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best laughs during a light moment at a news conference, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, in Seattle. Best, the first Black woman to lead Seattle's police department, announced she will be stepping down in September following cuts to her budget that would reduce the department by as many as 100 officers. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seattle’s ex-police chief joins KING as law enforcement analyst

Carmen Best retired from the police department amid a controversy over proposed budget cuts.

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond. (University of Washington)
UW climate expert: We are moving into uncharted territory

State climatologist says the declining snowpack threatens water supplies as population grows.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, right, speaks, Monday, July 13, 2020, during a news conference at City Hall in Seattle. Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best, looking on at left, were critical of a plan backed by several city council members that seeks to cut the police department's budget by 50 percent. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Police investigate threats, messages against Seattle mayor

Homophobic slurs and hateful messages were left outside the home of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

Most Read