President Trump on Friday denounced the demonstrators protesting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — especially those who have confronted lawmakers face to face on Capitol Hill.
“The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad,” Trump tweeted. “Don’t fall for it!”
The president invoked a long-held Republican conspiracy theory by implying the protests against Kavanaugh were being funded by liberal billionaire donor George Soros.
“Look at all of the professionally made identical signs,” Trump continued. “Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers.”
On Thursday, thousands of demonstrators, carrying both professional and handmade signs, participated in protests across Washington, D.C. More than 300 people were arrested, according to Capitol Police, including some inside the Hart Senate Office Building as demonstrators staged sit-ins outside the offices of key senators. Among them: actress and comedian Amy Schumer.
Some of the protesters seen on Capitol Hill in recent days do have ties to organizations funded by Soros.
Last week, two women who said they were sexual assault survivors confronted Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in an elevator, berating him over his initial support for Kavanaugh. One of the women, Ana Maria Archila, is the executive director for the Center for Popular Democracy, a group that has received funding from Soros. Another member of the organization, Tracey Corder, confronted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he walked through the terminal at Reagan National Airport.
Archila responded to Trump in a statement Friday morning.
“President Trump is, again, trying to ignore the experiences of people in this country by discrediting individuals who dare to raise our voices and force elected officials to listen to our stories, to look us in the eye, to not turn away,” she said.
In another exchange caught on video Thursday, a female protester was seen confronting Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as he waited for an elevator. Hatch infuriated the woman when he waved her off and told her to “grow up.” It’s unclear whether the woman was a member an activist group.
Appearing on Fox Business earlier Friday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley was asked whether he thinks George Soros is paying the elevator protesters.
“I have heard so many people believe that,” Grassley replied. “I tend to believe it.”
Trump’s dismissive tweet came hours before a key Senate vote on Kavanaugh, whose nomination has been clouded by allegations of sexual misconduct. The Senate voted narrowly to advance Kavanaugh to a final floor vote, which will likely come Saturday.
Speaking before the vote, McConnell decried the “far-left protesters,” suggesting senators have been subject to “physical” threats.
“The physical intimidation of members will not have the final say around here,” McConnell said. “The Senate will have the final say.”
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