For the second time in as many weeks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was challenged Saturday by protesters who confronted him over the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance border policy.
McConnell was leaving a Louisville restaurant after having lunch with Jonathan Shell, the outgoing majority leader of Kentucky’s House of Representatives, when he was approached by a group of demonstrators, reported the Courier-Journal.
As shown in a video recording below of the encounter, the protesters chanted “Vote you out” and “Abolish ICE,” referring to the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
One man is heard asking McConnell: “Where are the babies, Mitch?” — an apparent reference to the migrant children who have yet to be reunited with their families despite President Donald Trump’s executive order last month ordering an end to family separations among undocumented immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The senator did not appear to acknowledge the protesters.
Shell, defeated in May by a high school math teacher in the Republican primary for Kentucky’s House District 71, called the demonstrators “a small group of extremists” in comments to the Courier-Journal.
One man had shouted at McConnell, “We know where you live, Mitch,” as the senator had walked away from the group and got into a vehicle. Shell chastised the protester for his remark, calling it a “not-so-subtle threat right out of the Maxine Waters playbook,” referring to the House Democrat from California who has urged public confrontations with high-profile Trump administration officials and Republicans.
According to WLKY-TV, nearly 1,000 protesters had gathered in downtown Louisville on Saturday morning to call for the abolishment of ICE. A small group of counterprotesters also gathered in support of the agency.
McConnell was confronted by protesters in June as he and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, were leaving an event at Georgetown University in Washington.
“Why are you separating families?” one demonstrator asked McConnell, who did not engage with the protesters.
Chao defended McConnell, shouting at the group to “leave my husband alone.”
“He’s separating families,” a protester told Chao.
“He is not,” she replied.