Echoing a similar encounter between protester Ryan Clayton and Jared Kushner in late July, a man identifying himself as Clayton threw several small Russian flags at Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell on Tuesday. The pair were walking past reporters en route to a luncheon with Senate Republicans when Clayton, who aligns himself with the group Americans Take Action, thew the flags while exclaiming, “Trump is treason!”
Clayton, who was standing among the press when he launched the flags and began shouting, exclaimed, “This president has conspired with agents of the Russian government” while security subdued him. “We should be talking about treason in Congress, not about tax cuts!” NBC News congressional reporter and producer Frank Thorp captured one of the better angles of the protester’s tirade.
Video: Protester posing as journalist throws papers at Trump as he arrives for Senate GOP lunch yelling “Trump is treason!” pic.twitter.com/8dewfQrHVI
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) October 24, 2017
Neither Trump nor McConnell were in any real danger, though as NBC News reports, there are very real concerns regarding how Clayton was able to gain access to the area and mingle among the journalists covering the photo op. “The general public is allowed inside the Capitol complex for tours and appointments, but all entrants, including journalists, must go through a metal detector,” they explain. “Members of the press carry photo identification that allows them to traverse the halls of the building, but journalists obtain those credential badges only after undergoing a screening.”
When asked about the spectacle after his lunch with Trump and fellow Senate Republicans, McConnell brushed off the matter as nonexistent. “You guys were hollering so loud, frankly I didn’t even notice it,” he said. “We didn’t comment on it. We just walked on into my office.” When pressed further regarding Trump’s reaction to the protester, the Senate Majority Leader simply denied the president had any reaction to the episode at all and moved on.
(Via MSNBC, CNN and NBC News)