Protesters confronted Attorney General Pam Bondi at a showing of a documentary about children’s TV host Fred Rogers, and they questioned the Republican’s stands on immigration and health care.
The Tampa Bay Times reports Bondi received a police escort Friday when several members of Organize Florida confronted her as she left a Tampa theater after seeing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” about Mr. Rogers. The demonstrators questioned Florida joining a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act and Bondi’s general support of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
This is at least the third time a Republican official has been confronted at a public place in recent days over the president’s immigration policy that separated parents entering the country illegally at the Mexican border from their children. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders left restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area after facing friction there.
Bondi protester Maria Jose Chapa said was an impromptu demonstration after someone spotted the attorney general, who has a national following as a contributor on Fox News and as a friend of Trump. As Bondi and her companion left the theater surrounded by officers, the video shows Chapa followed her yelling.
“What would Mr. Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with pre-existing conditions, Pam Bondi!” Chapa hollered. Another person shouted at Bondi, “You’re a horrible person!” Onlookers stared agape as the procession moved past.
Bondi told the paper in a phone interview Saturday that the demonstrators’ actions didn’t comport with the lessons taught by Mr. Rogers.
“We were in a movie about anti-bullying and practicing peace and love and tolerance and accepting of people for their differences,” Bondi said in an interview. “That’s what Mr. Rogers is all about. We all believe in free speech, but there’s a big difference there.”
When the Times asked Chapa if the documentary’s star would have handled the situation the same, she replied, “I’m not Mr. Rogers. I don’t have the poise or temperament of Mr. Rogers.”
Material from The Associated Press was used in this post.