Protesters confronted Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a showing of a documentary about children’s TV host Fred Rogers, and they questioned the Republican’s stands on immigration and health care.
The Tampa Bay Times reports Bondi received a police escort Friday when several members of the left-wing group Organize Florida confronted her as she left a Tampa theater after seeing Won’t You Be My Neighbor about Mr. Rogers. The demonstrators questioned Florida joining a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act and Bondi’s general support of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Bondi protester Maria Jose Chapa said was an impromptu demonstration after someone spotted the attorney general, who has a national following as a contributor on Fox News and as ally of President Trump. The video shows that as Bondi and her companion left the theater surrounded by officers, Chapa followed her, yelling.
Pam Bondi attempted to attend a screening of the Mister Rogers documentary a day after announcing her plan to end protections for health care consumers with pre-existing conditions. Here, via @timintampa, is what happened. pic.twitter.com/zMLrSayS8M
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) June 23, 2018
“What would Mr. Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with pre-existing conditions, Pam Bondi!” Chapa hollered. Another person shouted at Bondi, “You’re a horrible person!” Onlookers stared agape as the procession moved past.
Bondi told the paper in a phone interview Saturday that the demonstrators’ actions didn’t comport with the lessons taught by Mr. Rogers.
“We were in a movie about anti-bullying and practicing peace and love and tolerance and accepting of people for their differences,” Bondi said in an interview. “That’s what Mr. Rogers is all about. We all believe in free speech, but there’s a big difference there.”
Bondi endorsed Donald Trump for president in May 2016, at a rally in Tampa, Florida.
“We need someone who is unafraid to lead and restore America to its greatness,” Bondi said. “I am proud to endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States of America.”
This is at least the third time a Republican official has been confronted at a public place in recent days over the president’s immigration policy that separated parents entering the country illegally at the Mexican border from their children. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders left restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area after facing friction there.
DHS Secretary Nielsen just got driven out of a Mexican restaurant here on 14th Street by activists. DSA, I believe. pic.twitter.com/lTKutryXBO
— Osita Nwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) June 20, 2018
— Brennan Gilmore (@brennanmgilmore) June 23, 2018
Sanders issued a statement on the incident Saturday, saying she “politely” exited the eatery after being asked to leave because she works for President Donald Trump.
“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left,” the Press Secretary said. “Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
Former Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire for Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district expressed concerned over increasing levels of intolerance towards Trump administration officials.
“Public officials heckled at movies, denied service at public restaurants, have water thrown on them when dining.”
“Where are we going with this?” he asked.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.