June 28, 2018

15 Times Protesters Crashed Politicians On Their Home Turf

The debate over the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents, who crossed the country’s southern border illegally, has made its way to the front door of the White House — and the front doors of two administration officials who are the faces of the policy.

Senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, who is reportedly the brains behind the decision to prosecute those who have illegally crossed, lives in City Center in downtown D.C. Protesters visited his high-end apartment building on Tuesday and played an audio recording obtained by ProPublica of children at a detention center who were crying and asking for their parents.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, who came under fire for asserting the Trump administration did not have a policy of separating families, lives in Alexandria, Va. Last Friday, her townhouse attracted activists, who played the same audio on loudspeakers outside her home, chanting “How do you sleep at night? With babies crying for their families?”

The “home visits” from protesters are sparking concern over the current state of political discourse. But protesters have long used this tactic of confronting appointed and elected officials at their homes. It’s not something that started during  the family separation policy, or during the Trump administration. Here are 15 examples of home visits over the past 15 years.

1. In February 1970, a crowd of protesters marched from George Washington University in Foggy Bottom to then-U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell’s Watergate apartment to protest the sentencing of the “Chicago Seven,” protesters convicted of crossing state lines with the intent to start a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. One hundred forty-one people were arrested and many were charged with disorderly conduct or parading without a license.

2. In August 2003, protesters staged a demonstration at then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s house in Taos, N.M. to protest the Iraq War.

3. In June 2004, protesters marched from the White House to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s house in Washington, D.C. to call for the prosecution of Rumsfeld for war crimes.

4. In 2013, protesters broadcast a film about drone warfare on Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s Georgetown home to protest.

5. In August 2013, protesters rallied outside then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s townhouse in Boston, Mass. to oppose military intervention in Syria.

6. In January 2015, anti-war protesters were arrested for trespassing while protesting inside former Vice President Dick Cheney’s fenced property in McLean, Va.

7. In December 2017, protesters spoke out against the Republican tax reform bill outside U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’s home in Bangor, Maine.

8. In August 2017, protesters with Take Action Minnesota delivered a large letter opposing Medicaid cuts to U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis outside his Woodbury, Minn. home.

9. In May 2017, protestors hung signs around Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai to oppose his plans to reverse net neutrality. The visits continued throughout the year.

10. In April 2017, protesters again danced their way from Dupont Circle to First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s home in D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood to protest Trump’s executive order canceling an Obama-era climate change measure.

11. In February 2017, protesters rallied at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s house to oppose the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General. Protesters read together a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King opposing Sessions’s nomination for federal judgeship.

12. In January 2017, protesters staged a dance party all the way from the Friendship Heights Metro station to then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s temporary home in Chevy Chase to protest his stance on LGBTQ issues.

13. In January 2018, people gathered outside U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s home in Brooklyn to protest the deal he brokered to end the federal government shutdown which did not include protections for “Dreamers.”

14. In April 2018, protesters with Code Pink met outside U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco houses to register disapproval of the U.S. bombing of Syria.

15. In June 2018, disability rights protesters chanted outside of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s home in the Meridian Hills neighborhood in Indianapolis, Ind.

Have more examples of protests at home to share? Send them to kojo@wamu.org with the subject line “protest.” And tune into our show about protests in local dining establishments on Thursday, June 28.

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