Politics

McConnell Defiant After Restaurant Protest: ‘I Will Not Be Intimidated’

In an op-ed, the Senate majority leader explained exactly what happened — and who is stoking this bad behavior

Image Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images & TMZ

The incident is well-known by now: A small group of angry diners confronted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a restaurant last Friday night — and were met with calls from other customers to leave the Kentucky Republican alone.

Video obtained by TMZ (seen at the bottom of this article) shows a diner berating McConnell in public on issues such as Social Security at the Louisville restaurant. The video starts with him yelling at McConnell and arguing with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife.

In an op-ed published Tuesday in Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier-Journal, McConnell explained his thoughts on the aggressive intrusion — and revealed what really happened.

“As Elaine and I sat at a booth and enjoyed our dinner, a man came in off the street and rushed at us,” McConnell wrote. “Acting alone, he began shouting, slamming his fists on our table, and causing a disruption as others tried to eat. At one point, he even grabbed my wife’s to-go box [from] our table and threw it outside onto the ground.”

When those on the Left don’t get what they want, the Kentucky lawmaker explained, they resort to “mob tactics.”

“This tendency was on full display during the debate over the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court,” McConnell wrote. “Republican senators and their families were targeted by the mob at their homes, at airports, and in their cars. They received threatening phone calls and letters. Death threats spiked.”

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He added, “These were not efforts to engage in civil discourse or to persuade peacefully – these were simply efforts to intimidate.”

After McConnell and his wife were confronted, something inspiring happened: Other diners got involved, pushing back on the rude and surprising confrontation and defending McConnell and Chao.

“Almost immediately, the restaurant’s other customers began rejecting his harassment,” he explained. “They told [the man] to quiet down or leave. A few men even approached the aggressor and escorted him to the exit.”

McConnell also wrote, “We are grateful to our fellow diners and the restaurant staff who helped end the disruption.”

The long-serving Republican politician then laid out his view on public harassment: “I’m not sure exactly what in my career suggests I would be easily swayed by such a spectacle,” he wrote. “The reality is simple: I will not be intimidated.”

The mob mentality that is being “fed and encouraged” by the far Left all across the nation is the main factor in these incidents, he noted.

“The threats and intimidation are even being cheered on by prominent, leading Democrats,” he said. “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there should be no civility until her party was back in power. Eric Holder, President Obama’s attorney general, recently told a group that ‘when they go low, we kick ‘em.’ That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”

He emphasized that despite the growing tension, the Senate is continuing “productive work for the American people.”

Related: CNN Anchor Objects to Labeling Leftist Protesters a ‘Mob’

McConnell explained that he receives “thousands” of calls, letters and emails every week, and says, “While we may not always agree, I do appreciate every person who engages in the democratic process in a civil way.”

He also offered this takeaway — and a challenge for citizens in today’s anxious culture: “It’s time for each of us to decide what kind of country we want.”

“One side can continue to hurl mud, hatred, and toxic behavior until we reach a breaking point. Or, those with strong beliefs on both sides of an issue can speak up in a civil way.”

See the restaurant confrontation in the video below.

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