Protesters heckled Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he left a Kentucky restaurant on Saturday. Incensed at the Trump administration’s immigration policy, they chanted “abolish ICE” and shouted “we know where you live.”
McConnell was accosted as he left Louisville’s Bristol Bar & Grille, with protesters chanting “where are the babies, Mitch?” a reference to the 2,400 children of illegal immigrants separated from their families at the US border. The separation of families drew intense criticism until President Donald Trump ended the policy by executive order last month.
The protesters also chanted “abolish ICE,” a slogan that has become a rallying cry for the far left. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been lambasted by leftist politicians and had its staff and their families threatened by ‘Antifa’ activists for their role in enforcing the administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policies.
One protester delivered a thinly-veiled threat to McConnell, calling him “turtle head,” and sneering “we know where you live.” McConnell’s dining companion, Kentucky Representative Jonathan Shell, described the protest as “extremist” and “very distasteful.”
The protest was attended by the Louisville chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, which described that one protester as unaffiliated with the leftist group.
Rep. Shell described the threats as coming “right out of the Maxine Waters playbook.”
Democratic Congresswoman from California Maxine Waters has been criticized by Republicans and establishment Democrats for calling for the public harassment of Trump administration officials.
“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,” she told a rally in Los Angeles in June. She denied that her comments were an incitement to violence, and vowed to keep fighting back like a “wounded animal.”
Waters’ fiery speech came days after White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was booted out of a Virginia restaurant by an owner who disagreed with her politics. In the time since, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former EPA czar Scott Pruitt were both harassed in restaurants, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was jeered at and spat on by a mob as she attended a movie in Tampa.
In addition, a man was charged with felony theft last week, after he stole a teenager’s red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and threw a drink in the teen’s face in a Texas burger restaurant.
For McConnell, Saturday was not the Senate Republican’s first encounter with the #resistance, a movement that has graduated from online comments to street protests in recent weeks. Last month, McConnell was confronted by immigration protesters as he and his wife left a university event in Washington DC. McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, told the group to “leave him alone,” before security guards sped the pair away.
As the left grows more violent, Republicans have crafted the #resistance’s anti-Trump excesses into a campaign message for November’s midterm elections. In a new campaign ad released by the party two weeks ago, images of burning cars and black-clad Antifa protesters are accompanied by clips of celebrities calling for Trump’s assassination and of Waters whipping up her followers.
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