On Sunday, Fox News host Mike Emmanuel tried to corner U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg by asking him if it was “appropriate” for demonstrators to protest outside a restaurant where Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was dining. Buttigieg’s response forced him to change the topic.
Buttigieg began by acknowledging that public officials “should always be free from violence,” but told the audience that public officials are “never going to be free from criticism or peaceful protests, people exercising their First Amendment rights.”
Emmanuel tried to interrupt, but Buttigieg ignored him and continued with his response.
“That’s what happened in this case,” the Transportation Secretary explained. “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.”
“Not only the right to choose by the way,” Buttigieg continued, “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…” he added before Emmanuel spoke up.
“Let me follow up,” the Fox News host said while the Biden official talked over him and finished his commentary.
“…to the United States Capitol for the purpose of overthrowing the election and very nearly succeeded in preventing the peaceful transfer of power,” he argued. “I think common sense can tell the difference.”
Emmanuel then made a follow-up question.
“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 Fox News host asked.
“Protesting peacefully outside in a public space? Sure,” he responded. “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.”