A newly formed left-wing activist group with ties to liberal billionaire George Soros invaded the lobby of the conservative Heritage Foundation on Tuesday morning, causing security and police to scramble to the organization’s Massachusetts Avenue building in Washington, D.C.
But besides being loud and obnoxious, the organized protesters — apparently bused in from an airport — did little harm.
“Heritage will not back down. We will keep fighting for a responsible budget, a pro-growth tax system, a repeal of Obamacare, and a stronger national defense.”
Eventually, the loud crowd of more than 300 people moved outside, where they chanted and beat on plastic drums. The loudest chant was “Arrest Donald Trump.”
The protesters were organized by a newly minted activist group named People’s Action. Heritage is a conservative think tank and has written numerous policy papers that President Donald Trump has used to implement policy. Heritage also made many recommendations for appointments to Trump’s administration during the president’s transition.
Official tweets and tweets from participating protesters offered insight into the left-wing group’s motives. One of People’s Action’s Twitter accounts posted: “We are shutting down the @HeritageFoundation protesting their anti-human pro-corporate agenda! We need a #Budget4ThePeople NOW! #RiseUp2017.”
Another tweeter said the group was protesting in the cause of clean water. Signs indicated the group is upset that Heritage helped Trump write his first federal budget. Protesters were also supportive of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
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Staffers inside the Heritage Foundation goaded the protesters by holding “Repeal Obamacare” signs in the fourth-floor windows.
This enraged the protesters, who began cursing and “flipping the bird” at bemused Heritage staffers.
The protesters were remarkably organized. They got off buses, declined to speak to members of the media, and later marched to a church to hear activists speak. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, also spoke to People’s Action at the church.
The group then protested in front of the White House, where members risked arrest by lining arms in front of building’s North Lawn gate. Group members claimed on Twitter that as many as 1,200 people showed up for the day of action, which also included going to congressional offices.
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Besides having a dirty carpet in their lobby, Heritage officials took the event in stride and brushed off the protest.
“Liberal activists stormed our offices on Capitol Hill to protest Heritage’s Blueprint for Balance and our recommendations to the Trump administration,” said Sarah Mills, a Heritage spokeswoman. “The Heritage Foundation and conservatives across the country will not be bullied or silenced by staged protesters backed by progressive special-interest groups connected to George Soros.”
Mills said Heritage was targeted because the think tank has majority support among the people.
“These groups do not represent the majority of Americans who have continually called for a return to fiscal discipline and an end to ballooning federal debt,” said Mills. “If the protesters were serious about reforming the way Washington works, they would join us in fighting for an end to crony corporate welfare and special-interest policies that harm the American people. Heritage will not back down. We will keep fighting for a responsible budget, a pro-growth tax system, a repeal of Obamacare, and a stronger national defense – only then will we have opportunity for all and favoritism to none.”