Protesters confronted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as a left a restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky Saturday. Protesters demanded answers on the Trump administration’s immigration policy of forcibly separating families crossing the U.S. border.
In a video shared with Courier Journal, someone can be heard asking McConnell, “Where are the children? Where are the babies, Mitch?” Another asks, “What are you doing to get the babies back?”
“Vote you out,” several chant as they follow him down the street. McConnell doesn’t react.
“Abolish ICE,” they continue chanting as he gets in his car. “No justice, no peace,” they yell as he drives away.
McConnell was getting lunch with Kentucky’s outgoing House Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell (R), the Courier Journal reported. Shell — who voted to cut teachers’ pensions and then lost the May primary to a math teacher — called the protesters “a small group of extremists.”
One of the protesters in the video can be heard saying “We know where you live,” which Shell called a “not-so-subtle threat right out of the Maxine Waters playbook.”
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has never called for violence, but has urged the public to peacefully and publicly confront members of the Trump administration. Since encouraging protests, she has received several threats and been forced to cancel appearances.
Last month, McConnell claimed that all Republican senators supported ending the Trump administration’s policy of family separation, despite the fact that none of them had signed on to existing legislation that would have ended it. Since then, the Trump administration has swapped its policy of family separation for indefinite family detention. In the meantime, most separated families have not been reunited.
Nearly two weeks ago, a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration must reunite all migrant families it separated by July 26. The administration was also ordered to reunite all kids under the age of five with their families by July 10. On Friday, the court rejected a Department of Justice request to extend the deadline.
It’s not clear that there is a process in place to meet that deadline. The Trump administration hasn’t given an exact number of kids separated from their parents since June 26, when it said that there were 2,047 kids. That’s probably because the administration is still trying to determine which kids actually arrived to the United States “unaccompanied” and which kids were separated from their parents. On Friday, officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that they had lost track of nearly 20 percent of the parents whose toddlers were taken from them.
This isn’t the first time that protesters have confronted McConnell over his support for the Trump administration’s immigration policy — which since May has included criminally prosecuting all migrants crossing the U.S. border without documentation, thus separating families.
Last month, a group of protesters in Washington, D.C. confronted the senator and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, as they left a dinner at Georgetown University. The protesters played audio published by ProPublica from a detention center where young children who had been separated from their families could be heard crying.
A group of protesters confronts Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chao with @ProPublica’s audio of children separated from their families at the border while leaving a @Georgetown event. pic.twitter.com/jRKHKBeFpC
— Jesus Rodriguez (@jesusrodriguezb) June 26, 2018
“Why are you separating families?” one person demanded to know, while another asked McConnell, “How does he sleep at night?” A security guard pushed one of them away.
Also on Saturday, a woman approached former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon at a bookstore in Richmond, Virginia and called him a “piece of trash.” The bookstore owner called 911, and the woman left the store.