• May 20, 2024

Senators given flashcard with tips to avoid protesters during impeachment

 Senators given flashcard with tips to avoid protesters during impeachment

by Madison Dibble | January 16, 2020

Senators were given a cheat sheet to help them dodge people following them as they prepare to begin President Trump’s impeachment trial next week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent her impeachment managers over to the Senate with the articles of impeachment on Wednesday night. While the focus had been on the House’s process, the transfer of the impeachment, and several of the reporters covering it, will now turn to the Senate.

In an attempt to brace for the chaotic week, the senators were handed flashcards with advice on how to ditch protesters if they are being questioned about impeachment. The tips included phrases to use, such as: “Please move out of my way,” “You are preventing me from doing my job,” and “Please excuse me, I need to get to a hearing/meeting.”

Many reporters found the notecards offensive and an attempt to silence the press. Several took to Twitter to express their frustrations.

JUST IN: @CBSNews /@caitlinconant obtain a flashcard being given to U.S. Senators ahead of the #ImpeachmentTrial on tips to avoid reporters. (One thing it doesn’t suggest is calling reporters a “liberal hack.”) pic.twitter.com/mAZpBP9Fv7

— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) January 16, 2020

Flashcard for reporters:

“Please stop and talk”

“Your unwillingness to speak is preventing me from understanding your views and explaining them to your constituents”

“Please excuse me, I’m trying to write a story”

“Please excuse me, I’m on deadline”

“Please do not touch me” https://t.co/5sxt8sMJBe

— Matt Viser (@mviser) January 16, 2020

“You are preventing me from doing my job.”

Reporters should say the same thing back to senators. https://t.co/cu8fze2F6g

— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) January 16, 2020

This should have been called, “Phrases To Use When Opposing America’s Founding Principle of a Free Press” https://t.co/RspPPQA7Z6

— Will Bunch ? (@Will_Bunch) January 16, 2020

It isn’t clear who is responsible for distributing the notecards, but Liz Johnson, an aide to Sen. Mitt Romney, said it was common practice for the Senate’s Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police to distribute cards such as these to help senators navigate the building during chaotic weeks. She claimed that the cards were aimed at helping senators avoid protesters, not reporters.

This represents longstanding best practices from @SenateSAA & @CapitolPolice for safely de-escalating confrontations with *protesters* and it’s provided to Hill staff routinely. https://t.co/ppRJSIL4PB

— Liz Johnson (@LJ0hnson) January 16, 2020

Matt Whitlock, a senior adviser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee and former staffer for Sen. Orrin Hatch, also noted that these cards were supposed to be kept secret because the phrases are used to alert Capitol Police to a potential threat without creating a bigger scene

Even more helpful context from another GOP aide as we await formal comment from @SenateSAA and @CapitolPolice: https://t.co/PJxqknatBV https://t.co/uJvnhA08zX

— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) January 16, 2020

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Protesters are a regular feature inside the Capitol and other Senate buildings, but there will likely be an increased presence with the national attention on impeachment. During the confirmation hearing of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, protesters followed Sen. Jeff Flake into an elevator while screaming at him to change his vote. The moment prompted Flake to change his mind and call for additional investigations, though he eventually voted to confirm Kavanaugh.


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