One group that attempts to talk to U.S. senators in airports, including Kentucky’s Rand Paul, says it has no plans to abandon that tactic despite complaints.
Paul’s wife, Kelley, said this week that her husband has been “beseiged” at the airport, which she included as one of several kinds of activities, threats or confrontations affecting the family’s security. Other lawmakers, including Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell have been approached and described the interactions with protesters as attempts at intimidation, according to several media reports.
The Center for Popular Democracy recently released a video that appears to show a group of three women trying to talk to Sen. Rand Paul in an airport. “We deserve to have a conversation with you,” one of the women says in the video. “You’re a senator, you represent us.”
In the video, the women say they are victims of sexual violence and ask him to comment on his stance on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The women do not appear to make physical contact with Sen. Rand Paul or block his path. The senator continued to walk and did not appear to speak to or make eye contact with any of the women during the video.
The women calmly asked the senator to listen to their stories and tell them his position on the FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, said Jennifer Epps-Addison, co-executive director of The Center of Popular Democracy.
“CPD Action and our partners have trained thousands of people to birddog over the last year,” Epps-Addison said. “If senator’s hide from constituents in the Capitol then we will demand they explain their positions at restaurants, on elevators, or in airports. We will demand they look us in the eyes before they vote to harm our families and besmirch the reputation of the Supreme Court. We’ve called for heroes to show up an be counted and they are in historic numbers. No amount of distraction, or character assassination will deter us or the millions who have been activated by this moment from demanding accountability from our senators.“
Epps-Addison also said that Sen. Rand Paul is “hiding behind the blatant lies and distortions of his wife.”
The center believes that Kavanaugh, who has faced accusations of sexual misconduct, is unfit to serve on the Supreme Court, Epps-Addison said. An FBI investigation that concluded in a few days did not corroborate the allegations, according to McConnell as reported by the Associated Press.
Kelley Paul describes the interactions differently. “Preventing someone from moving forward, thrusting your middle finger in their face, screaming vitriol — is this the way to express concern or enact change?”