Longtime Hillary Clinton adviser Phillip Reines on Sunday attempted to justify protesters' public harassment of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and other Republicans, saying the majority leader is "getting away with murder."
During an appearance on an MSNBC panel, Reines suggested McConnell and his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, should expect the treatment they received from protesters Friday night at a restaurant in Louisville. He inferred the public harassment was nothing compared to what McConnell has "gotten away with," specifically noting how McConnell prevented the confirmation of President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
"Mitch McConnell is a pretty stoic guy. Just the notion, when you said Mitch McConnell and TMZ I had to do a double take. I think he’s sitting there and he’s thinking a couple things, first of all, ‘I have Capitol Police that are 10 feet away,’ two, he’s thinking, ‘I got my wife Elaine, who is better than the Capitol Police,’ three, he’s thinking, ‘Merrick Garland verse my leftovers,'" Reines said.
"He’s getting away with murder, and net/net I think he thinks if this is the worst he gets, that’s fine. But this is such a made-up problem," he continued. "Again, it is like professor Butler said, it is the First Amendment. And there is a difference and it goes to something Dr. Greer said: people are doing this because there is no other opportunity or no other oversight."
Reines went on to claim the Republican Party has pledged loyalty to President Donald Trump and that the people upset with the Republican officials feel like harassing them is their only option left. He downplayed the severity of treatment other Trump administration officials received while out to dinner.
"What are they doing? They’re denying [White House press secretary] Sarah Sanders her supper," Reines said. "They’re serenading Kirstjen Nielsen in a Mexican restaurant. They’re heckling Stephen Miller just for being Stephen Miller."
Friday wasn't the first time that McConnell and Chao were confronted in public. A group of protesters approached them as they were leaving an event at Georgetown University back in June, prompting Chao to tell them to "leave my husband alone." The protesters asked the pair about the Trump administration's policy of separating illegal immigrant parents from their children at the southern border.
McConnell was also confronted by protesters in July as he left a restaurant in Louisville. The protesters yelled, "abolish ICE" and "no justice, no peace," prompting to McConnell to take a jab at them on Twitter after the incident.
"I see what they did here. They waited until Elaine wasn’t around," McConnell tweeted.