President Obama, appearing at a fundraiser for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles Monday, April 19, seemed initially irritated when his speech in support of Boxer’s re-election was interrupted with shouts that he do more to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
An Associated Press video of the proceeding shows him trying, at first, to talk over the protests, then trying to respond to them, saying “We are going to do that.” When the protests continue, he raises his hand and says, “Hey, hold on a second. Hold on a second. We are going to do that.”
By then, the full audience had begun chanting, “Yes, we can,” drowning out the protesters. The president stood quietly at the podium until the crowd began to quiet and then he beckoned them: “Now, listen. What the young man was talking about was we need to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, which I agree with and which we have begun to do.”
“But let me say this,” continued the president, “when you’ve got an ally like Barbara Boxer and you’ve got an ally like me who are standing for the same thing, then you don’t know exactly why you’ve got to holler, because we already hear you, all right? I mean, it would have made more sense to holler that at the people who oppose it.”
President Obama resumed his speech, after the first protesters were escorted out, but then additional protesters began to shout, “It’s time for equality for all Americans!”
Obama repeated that he and Boxer “are supportive of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ so I don’t know why you’re hollering.”
Frontiers in LA magazine editor Karen Ocamb reported the protest was carried out by five activists with the new LGBT activist group GetEqual.
Meanwhile, on April 20, six uniformed veterans chained themselves to the White House fence to protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” According to CNN, the protesters included Lt. Dan Choi, who was arrested last month after chaining himself to the White House fence in a similar protest.
On April 26, five people were arrested outside Sen. John McCain’s office in Phoenix after they requested to talk to the senator and former GOP presidential candidate about repealing DADT.
In February, McCain, who lost to Obama, said “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” was “imperfect but effective,” according to the Washington Post.
Army Lt. Dan Choi (center) and five other LGBT veterans handcuffed themselves to the White House fence last week in protest of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ echoing a similar protest staged one month earlier. (Photo by Michael Key/DC Agenda)