Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt had his lunch served with a side of dissent on Monday: As the controversial Trump official dined at Teaism restaurant in Washington, D.C., fellow diner Kristin Mink approached his table and urged him to resign.
Mink posted video of the confrontation on her Facebook page yesterday, where it’s quickly racked up more than 200,000 views. In the video, Pruitt, who appears to have just finished eating a trio of tacos, sits silently as Mink, who is accompanied by her toddler, consults written notes and rattles off a list of scandals the EPA chief has been embroiled in, including renting a D.C. condo owned by the wife of a lobbyist.
“We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who does protect our environment... who believes in climate change and takes it seriously,” Mink tells Pruitt in the video, concluding, “I would encourage you to resign before your scandals push you out.”
EPA head Scott Pruitt was 3 tables away as I ate lunch with my child. I had to say something. This man is directly and significantly harming my child’s — and every child’s — health and future with decisions to roll back environmental regulations for the benefit of big corporations, while he uses taxpayer money to fund a lavish lifestyle. He’s corrupt, he’s a liar, he’s a climate change denier, and as a public servant, he should not be able to go out in public without hearing from the citizens he’s hurting. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt ETA: You don’t have to wait til your next Pruitt sighting to take action! Click here to help Boot Pruitt! https://www.addup.org/campaigns/boot-pruittPosted by Kristin Mink on Monday, July 2, 2018
Reached via phone, the manager on duty at Teaism said he was not present during the incident.
The run-in follows a number of recent similar incidents at restaurants involving Trump administration officials: In June, Department of Homeland Security secretary Kristjen Nielsen, who’s become the public face of the Trump administration’s controversial “zero tolerance” immigration policies and separation of families, was confronted by protesters while having dinner at upscale D.C. Mexican restaurant MXDC.
Then last week, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Lexington, Virginia, restaurant called the Red Hen mid-meal; the owner, who has since been the target of online harassment and doxxing, said Sanders’ presence made her staff — some of whom are LGBTQ — uncomfortable, telling the Washington Post, “This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”
In some cases, customers who support the Trump administration are also being rebuffed: Last week in Vancouver, a restaurant manager was fired after refusing to serve a man wearing a Make American Great Again hat.
Though it’s illegal for restaurants in Washington, D.C., to refuse to serve someone based on political affiliation, it’s perfectly legal to do so in most other areas of the country. While some public figures have said they don’t support such confrontations — Bernie Sanders said Trump officials should be able to dine in peace, while restaurateur Danny Meyer has said refusing service to them is a “slippery slope” — Rep. Maxine Waters of California has urged for the public confrontations of Trump officials to continue. Waters was forced to cancel public appearances last week after receiving death threats.
• Kristin Mink [Facebook]
• Woman Confronts Pruitt at Restaurant, Tells Him to Resign [The Hill]