McConnell, Chao latest to face protesters

McConnell, Chao latest to face protesters


WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao have become the latest figures on the right to face heated criticism while out in public.

A video that hit the web Monday evening and then picked up steam the following day shows McConnell and Chao, who are married, leaving an event at Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown University.

A man who identified himself as a Georgetown student explained on Twitter why he spoke out.

The incident follows a string of similar events, including Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen being shouted at in an upscale Mexican restaurant, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders being turned away from an eatery in Virginia, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi being driven out of a theater in Tampa and a report that White House aide Stephen Miller was called a “Fascist” at a Mescal bar.

The tendency for activists to confront those aligned with the administration in public has kicked off a debate over the tactic.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) urged supporters during a rally in Los Angeles over the weekend to take a more confrontational approach.

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” Waters told the crowd.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called on her to apologize and President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to lambast her multiple times.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said during a briefing that the “calls for harassment and push for any Trump supporter to avoid the public is unacceptable.”

“We are allowed to disagree, but we should be able to do so freely and without fear of harm,” Sanders said. “And this goes for all people regardless of politics.”

The incidents have largely taken place in response to the administration’s policy of separating families after crossing into the U.S. illegally, a practice that President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week to taper back.

However, critics of the policy have continued to voice frustration, citing the lack of answers over when and how families will be reunited and concerns that the new policy could lead to indefinite detention for children.

The Majority Leader’s Office declined to comment. A request for comment from the Department of Transportation was not immediately returned.

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