Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg gave a Fox News host a lesson in the Constitution and the right of every American to peacefully protest on Sunday.
Host Mike Emmanuel asked Buttigieg if he thought it was “appropriate” for protesters to demonstrate outside a restaurant where Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was having dinner earlier this week.
Buttigieg began by noting that all public officials “should always be free from violence,” and he added:
“You’re never going to be free from criticism or peaceful protests, people exercising their First Amendment rights.”
Emmanuel tried to interrupt Buttigieg, but the secretary continued to make his point:
“That’s what happened in this case. Remember, the justice never even came into contact with these protesters, reportedly didn’t see or hear them. And these protesters are upset because a right, an important right that the majority of Americans support was taken away.”
Once again, Emmanuel attempted to interrupt Buttigieg, but failed:
“Not only the right to choose by the way,” Buttigieg remarked, “but this justice was part of the process of stripping away the right to privacy. Since I’ve been alive, settled case law in the United States has been that the Constitution protected the right to privacy and that has now been thrown out the window by justices, including Justice Kavanaugh, who as I recall, swore up and down in front of God and everyone including the United States Congress that they were going to leave settled case law alone. So yes, people are upset. They’re going to exercise their First Amendment rights.”
“Compare that, for example, to the reality that as a country right now we are reckoning with the fact that a mob summoned by the former president…”
“Let me follow up.”
“…to the United States Capitol for the purpose of overthrowing the election and very nearly succeeded in preventing the peaceful transfer of power. I think common sense can tell the difference.”
The host then asked:
“But as a high-profile public figure, sir, are you comfortable with protesters protesting when you and your husband go to dinner at a restaurant?”
The secretary responded in a way Emmanuel probably didn’t expect, telling him:
“Protesting peacefully outside in a public space? Sure. Look, I can’t even tell you the number of spaces, venues and scenarios where I’ve been protested. And the bottom line is this. Any public figure should always — always — be free from violence, intimidation and harassment. But should never be free from criticism or people exercising their First Amendment rights.”
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