The Heritage Foundation vowed not to be “bullied or silenced” after an estimated 200 left-wing activists stormed the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters Tuesday morning, vowing to shut it down.
The activists, who screamed and chanted, were protesting Heritage’s budget recommendations to the Trump administration, summarized in a document called “Blueprint for Balance.”
“The Heritage Foundation and conservatives across the country will not be bullied or silenced by staged protesters backed by progressive special interest groups connected to George Soros,” Heritage spokeswoman Sarah Mills told WND.
“These groups do not represent the majority of Americans who have continually called for a return to fiscal discipline and an end to ballooning federal debt,” she said.
Mills said that if the protesters “were serious about reforming the way Washington works, they would join us in fighting for an end to special interest policies that harm the American people.”
“Heritage will not back down. We will keep fighting for a responsible budget, a pro-growth tax system, a repeal of Obamacare and a stronger national defense – only then will we have opportunity for all and favoritism to none,” Mills said.
The protest was organized by a group called the People’s Action Institute, which tweeted: “We’re shutting it down at @Heritage because it continues to be @realDonaldTrump’s think tank.”
The activists chanted, “Our solution to pollution is the people’s revolution” and, “Water not walls,” referring to the Flint, Michigan rusty water scandal and President Trump’s border wall.
In tweets, they called for a “budget for the people,” declaring a “pro-corporate agenda” is “killing us all.”
Some inside the Heritage Foundation building countered the protesters with a protest of their own, holding “Repeal Obamacare” signs at the windows, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Heritage’s “Blueprint for Balance” says in a summary that its aim is to provide “detailed recommendations to strengthen America’s economy, society, and defense through the budget process.”
Key principles are:
- Programs that produce favoritism, that are wasteful, or that would be better managed by state or local governments, are eliminated or reduced.
- The federal budget should reflect American principles within constitutional constraints and a commitment to individual rights, economic freedom, and prosperity.
Philip Wegmann, a Washington Examiner commentary writer who formerly worked for the Heritage Foundation’s news website the Daily Signal, said the 20-minute protest was “just long enough for the whole stunt to ironically backfire.”
Heritage took advantage of it, he noted, posting a livestream broadcast on Facebook and promoting its policy paper.
“Instead of sinking the conservative outfit, the protest hardened opposition among hardliners on the right,” he wrote.
“The immediate and ironic result will be a boost to Heritage’s bottom line as conservative donors reach for their checkbooks while their blood boils,” Wegmann said.
“The long-term consequences are more troubling. After three months of Trump demonstrations, it’s clear the protests aren’t stopping and won’t always be civil from now on.”