An Indian-American woman who accosted Sean Spicer in an Apple store in Washington, D.C. says she has no regrets about her confrontation with the White House press secretary, which went viral after she livestreamed it.
Shree Chauhan, 33, posted the Saturday afternoon encounter on Twitter, showing Spicer’s reaction as she peppers him with questions that include, “How does it feel to work for a fascist?” and “How do you feel about destroying the country?” Chauhan also asks Spicer about Russia and accuses President Donald Trump of committing treason and being a dictator.
“You work for a fascist,” she tells Spicer at the checkout counter. “Do you feel good about lying to the American people?”
Spicer thanks the woman at least twice for her questions during the nearly minute-long confrontation and appears to reply to her by saying: “such a great country that allows you to be here.”
Chauhan, who was born in the U.S. to immigrant parents of Indian descent, said she saw the comment as racist and threatening.
“When I played it back and I realized it, I felt fear,” she told TIME on Monday. “Think about his level of power and his proximity to the President of the United States. To say that to my face with a smile, it’s really something to behold.”
Since the video went viral, Chauhan said she has received a stream of furious comments on social media, including death threats, and she is worried her family could become a target.
Still, she has no regrets about the confrontation. “I’m not sorry,” she said. “What I did is like a blip compared to what this admiration is doing and what Mr. Spicer is complicit in doing, which is undermining this country’s constitution and our democratic values.”
Chauhan said she was nervous and a bit thrown off when she saw Spicer standing before her in the Apple store by himself, but she was glad to have the chance to speak to him. “I realized what an enormous opportunity it was to get answers without the protections normally given to Mr. Spicer,” she wrote in a Medium post about the incident.
The former teacher who now works for a nonprofit organization said she turned on her phone’s video camera after Spicer started answering her questions by repeatedly saying “thank you.”
She acknowledged that she was “not polite” to Spicer, and that her questions were not as “cogent” as she would have liked. “There are people that think I was rude, I was impolite, and I understand that,” she said. “He was just going about his regular business, and I get that. But it’s interesting to me that someone could go upon their regular business while supporting the tyranny of this administration.”
Chauhan said she opposes Trump’s immigration policies, including the revised travel ban announced last week, and she believes Spicer bears some of the responsibility. “He has a very powerful position. He has a direct role in this, and there’s a level of complicity,” she said. “He is the face of this administration. He has responsibilities as an American to the Constitution.”