Chao Has Heated Confrontation With Immigration Protesters: 'Leave My Husband Alone'

Elaine Chao / Getty
June 26, 2018

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao grew heated with angry protesters who approached her and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) after a Georgetown event on Tuesday, yelling at them to leave her husband alone.

The protesters asked about the Trump administration policy of separating illegal immigrant parents from their children at the border, which drew sharp criticism and led to President Donald Trump signing an executive order halting the practice. They played the audio published by Pro Publica of children crying when their parents were taken away.

The protesters approached McConnell as he walked down the stairs and appeared to direct their comments at him, with one saying, "Why are you separating families?"

He didn't respond, but Chao did, walking right up to the small group.

"Why don't you leave my husband alone? Why don't you leave my husband alone?" she asked.

"Why is he separating families?" one protester asked.

"He is not!" Chao said.

The protesters continued to shout at her as she again admonished them to leave McConnell alone and got into their car, while a security team member told the protesters to back up.

"How does he sleep at night?" one yelled.

The confrontation occurred after Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) encouraged opponents of the Trump administration to create a crowd around members of his Cabinet and tell them they're "not welcome." Her remarks drew rebukes from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), although Waters did not back down from what she said.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was chanted and jeered at for her role in the southern border policy last week while she ate at a Mexican restaurant, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia due to the owner's opposition to her politics.