Protesters confront Mitch McConnell at Louisville restaurant — for second day running

Following dramatic protests on Saturday, Senate majority leader faced angry locals again on Sunday evening

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published July 10, 2018 5:30AM (EDT)

Mitch McConnell (Getty/Mark Wilson)
Mitch McConnell (Getty/Mark Wilson)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is having a hard time eating out in his hometown these days.

On Sunday evening, McConnell was heckled for the second time in two days by protesters outside a restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, while he ate inside. This time, the protest took place at an Italian restaurant named Sarino. While not as dramatic as Saturday night's protest at a different restaurant, Ry Crist — a writer for CNET — told Salon the action still caused some chaos.

Crist says he had gone to a nearby bar to compete in trivia night. At about 8:45 p.m., he and his fellow trivia aficionados heard the protests outside.

“We started hearing chants of ‘No justice, no peace,’” Crist told Salon. “I went out front to see about seven or eight organized protesters outside Sarino, where there was a black SUV and a couple of police cars.”

Someone told McConnell had just arrived at the restaurant, Crist explained.

“The bar started coming out to see what the commotion was about (trivia night, so a pretty good crowd),” Crist wrote in a text message. McConnell “apparently ducked out the back and left shortly thereafter.”

Crist said he did not actually see McConnell, and that as far as he could tell protesters were not harassing the senator or employees at the restaurant. “Most of the protesters stood across the street,” he said.

A bartender at the same bar Crist was visiting told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the restaurant's chefs confronted the protesters.

"All the chefs came out and they were yelling at the protesters," said Nick Hulstine, a bartender at Four Pegs. "You could see McConnell's unmarked vehicles and bodyguards in the parking lot."

McConnell is only the latest prominent Republican or Trump administration official to face public protests over the controversial zero-tolerance immigration policy along the Mexican border — and it was the second time he was heckled that weekend. On Saturday, protesters at a different Louisville eatery, Bardstown Road, followed him outside after he ate lunch.

“Vote you out," one person reportedly yelled at the Republican leader.

"Where are the babies, Mitch?" another asked.

“Abolish ICE,” someone else demanded.

Protests are nothing new for the Senate's top Republican. A few weeks ago, McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, were reportedly confronted by protesters at Georgetown University.

"You leave my husband alone,” Chao told the group who confronted the couple. “Leave my husband alone."

In February 2018, a die-in occurred outside McConnell's Louisville home in a protest calling for changes in gun laws.

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon, specializing in health and science. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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