Women's March co-chair and progressive activist Linda Sarsour said on Tuesday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warned the country about people like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.).
"Dr. Martin Luther King warned us about people like Chuck Schumer," Sarsour said. "He said it wasn't the Ku Klux Klan and white citizen counselors who were the obstacles towards justice. It was people calling for ‘civility' and people that were telling us when to protest and at what time and how to protest."
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Several Trump administration officials have been confronted by protestors in recent weeks while out in public. The confrontations have been over the Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy that resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents who enter the country illegally.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted by protesters in a Mexican restaurant near the White House and had to leave. Senior White House Adviser Stephen Miller was yelled at as he ate a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and several family members were at the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia and were asked to leave by the restaurant co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson. When asked why she told Sanders to leave, Wilkinson told the Washington Post that Sanders works for a "inhumane and unethical" administration. The latest incident occurred when Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao was confronted after leaving an event at Georgetown University.
These incidents have sparked a national debate about civility and how citizens should protest the Trump administration or policies they disagree with generally. Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif) encouraged voters to to harass Trump administration officials. Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Schumer criticized Waters' comments.
"I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don't agree with you," Schumer said. "If you disagree with someone or something, stand up. Make your voice heard. Explain why you think they're wrong and why you're right. Make the argument. Protest peacefully."
Grassroots liberal activists like Sarsour disagree with Schumer on his call for civility. Sarsour argued the Trump administration's policies are the start of incivility.
"When we talk about civility, it is not civil to rip babies from their mothers. It is not civil to break up Muslim families. It is not civil to take away health care from millions of Americans," she said. "So you want to talk to me about civility, let's make sure we're engaging in justice and ensuring every American has access to things like health care and housing, that there is no poverty in America."