Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 31° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation

Video: McConnell confronted by protestors in Louisville restaurant

UPDATED: Sun., Oct. 21, 2018

In this screengrab of a video obtained by TMZ, protestors confront the Senate Majority Leader in a Cuban restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday, October 19, 2018. (YouTube via TMZ)
In this screengrab of a video obtained by TMZ, protestors confront the Senate Majority Leader in a Cuban restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday, October 19, 2018. (YouTube via TMZ)
From staff and wire reports

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s dinner in Louisville was interrupted by four protestors Friday night, CNN affiliate WLKY reported. The incident was originally reported by TMZ.

The Kentucky senator was dining with his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, at Havana Rumba when he was confronted by four men. One of the men asked McConnell, “Why don’t you get out of here? Why don’t you leave the entire country?”

Another patron shouted “Ditch Mitch!”

This protestor told fellow diners that McConnell was a danger to social security, but was answered by multiple diners to “leave him alone.”

“The leader and Secretary Chao enjoyed their meal in Louisville last night and they appreciate those who spoke up against incivility,” said Stephanie Penn, McConnell’s press secretary, in a statement to CNN. “They hope other patrons weren’t too inconvenienced by left-wing tantrums. As the leader often says, the Senate will not be intimidated by the antics of far-left protesters.”

WXLY also reported that McConnell’s to-go container was thrown out the door.

“We deeply regret the incident that took place at our restaurant this weekend,” the restaurant said in a statement to WLKY. “We strongly believe everyone should feel welcome and safe in our restaurants. It was Friday night in the middle of the rush and our staff was caught off guard as the incident developed quickly. Once we were aware of the situation we acted quickly and efficiently to assure that everyone was safe.”

Former two-term New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also had something to say about the incident. He spoke with TMZ at Politicon in Los Angeles.

“When you’re out in the public stream as an elected leader … you have to expect you’re going to be confronted and you have to answer difficult questions, and if you don’t like that you shouldn’t be in this business,” Christie said. “But, after I’m done with this, if I were to take my wife out to dinner tonight in Los Angeles, and a whole group of people were to come up to me and start yelling and screaming at me about what I said at Politicon today, that’s wrong.”

Christie expressed fear for where this type of behavior would lead, saying, “That makes public officials become hostages inside their own homes.”

When the reporter asked Christie if McConnell should have retaliated, Christie said, “I don’t think Mitch would be throwing a right cross at anybody. I don’t think violence should be answered with violence.”

Christie then said that he thought we should all follow Dr. King’s example. The reporter then asked about Trump’s behavior at the Thursday rally in Missoula, Montana, where Trump praised U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, who assaulted a Guardian reporter in June 2017. At the rally, Trump said “any guy who can do a body slam … he’s my guy.”

“If you folks hadn’t yet figured out that this president is from Queens, and he’s sarcastic, and he makes jokes,” Christie said. “ … having lived next to Queens for a long time, I can completely understand and participate in, but folks from other parts of the country are new to this. The president doesn’t literally mean that it is a good idea to do that.”

McConnell has a record of being confronted personally by protestors. CNN reported an incident in July where protestors shouted “Vote you out!” and “Abolish ICE!” as the senator was making his way to his car outside of a restaurant. He and his wife were also approached while leaving a Georgetown event in late June, CNN reported. In this confrontation, Chao came to the defense of her husband, saying, “Why don’t you leave my husband alone?”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.