Even former Trump officials are no longer safe from public protest, as Steve Bannon learned the hard way.
As public protests against the Trump administration have followed officials into their home lives, one bookstore shopper took the chance to chide one of the most controversial of all White House insiders, the former top adviser to Donald Trump. As The Hill reported, Steve Bannon was confronted by an angry woman at a Virginia bookstore who called the former strategist a “piece of trash.”
Bannon left Trump’s team last year after a rocky tenure. It was the former Breitbart chief who spearheaded many of Trump’s most controversial policy issues, including the hardline stance on immigrants that led Trump to adopt the zero tolerance policy that led to children being taken away from their parents.
Anger over this policy led to Trump officials facing public protests in all phases of their lives. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by an owner who was dismayed by the policy, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was forced out of a Mexican restaurant by protesters speaking out against the child separation policy.
Even those outside of Trump’s administration have faced public protest. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was confronted while leaving an event at Georgetown University, and on Saturday protesters met him outside of a restaurant in Louisville.
Video from the protest showed people shouting “Vote you out!” and “Abolish ICE.” They also took on McConnell for his failure to take on Trump’s now-scrapped child separation policy, shouting, “Where are the babies, Mitch?” That was likely in reference to an argument the Trump administration made in court this week that it should not have to reunite all of the children under the age of 5 with parents, some of whom have already been deported.
Steve Bannon was the next target. He was shopping in Black Swan Books when a woman confronted him, calling him a “piece of trash.” Nick Cook, the store’s owner, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the confrontation was unprompted, leading him to call the police.
“Steve Bannon was simply standing, looking at books, minding his own business. I asked her to leave, and she wouldn’t. And I said, ‘I’m going to call the police if you don’t,’ and I went to call the police and she left,” Cooke said. “And that’s the end of the story.”
The woman left before police arrived. Steve Bannon has not commented on the confrontation.