Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell became the latest Trump official to be confronted in public by those who disagree with the administration's policies. On Saturday, he was followed out of a restaurant by protestors, one of whom asked McConnell "Where are the babies, Mitch?" in a reference to the Trump administration's separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
McConnell was reportedly leaving a restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, where he had just had lunch with outgoing Kentucky House of Representative's Majority Leader Jonathan Shell, according to the Courier-Journal. In a video shared with the Courier and HuffPost, protestors chanted “Vote you out” and “Abolish ICE." Then, when McConnell comes out of the restaurant, protestors ask, "Where are the children? Where are the babies, Mitch?" and then "What are you doing to get the babies back?"
The comment is a reference to the Trump administration's recently-abolished policy of separating immigrant families at the border when the parents entered the U.S. illegally (even if those parents were seeking asylum). On Friday, lawyers for the Trump administration asked a judge to extend the Tuesday deadline for when it was required to have reunited all children younger than 5 with their parents. Lawyers said that they could only reunite about half of the 101 children in that age group by the deadline, according to The Post.
The judge asked that the children's names be sent to the ACLU before he could decide whether to extend the deadline. The government is still attempting to find the parents of the more than 3,000 children it separated, according to The Washington Post.
Although McConnell spoke out in support of Trump's executive order to end the policy of separating families at the border, he was silent on the issue in the day leading up to Trump's decision, the Courier reported in June. In a statement about immigration proposals that sought to help asylum-seekers, McConnell said, according to the Courier:
The safety of Americans and the security of our nation require that people who illegally cross our border are not simply released into the United States. But when families with children breach our border, we should keep those families together whenever possible while our legal system fairly and promptly evaluates their status.
As McConnell got in his car on Saturday to escape the protestors, one of them also reportedly said, "We know where you live." Shell told the Courier the remark was "distasteful" and was "not-so-subtle threat right out of the Maxine Waters playbook," though it's unclear how he knows the remark was a threat. In the past, protestors have gathered outside the homes of public officials to make their cases.
Shell was referring to California Rep. Maxine Waters' remark that people should absolutely confront Trump administration officials in public, according to NBC News:
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.
And Waters call has been heard. For the last few months, Americans have confronted Trump administration officials in public — including McConnell. Less than two weeks ago, protestors approached McConnell and his wife, Elaine Chao, as they were walking to their car, according to The Cut. When protestors repeatedly asked McConnell and his wife why McConnell was separating families, Chao yelled back, "He's not! Leave him alone!”
In another incident, the owner of the Lexington, Virginia, restaurant the Red Hen politely refused service to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, justifying her decision by saying, "This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals," according to The Washington Post.
And, just days ago, schoolteacher Kristen Mink approached former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt while he was having dinner. She wrote on Facebook, according to NBC4 Washington:
This man is directly and significantly harming my child’s — and every child’s — health and future with decisions to roll back environmental regulations for the benefit of big corporations, while he uses taxpayer money to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Regardless of whether it's appropriate, Americans clearly want to make themselves heard as often as possible — and they want to do it publicly. Protestors confronting McConnell show that Trump administration's immigration policies, especially, have spurred people into action, and it doesn't appear that they're going to stop demanding answers from their elected officials anytime soon.