A short confrontation ensued. “Why don’t you leave my husband alone? Why don’t you leave my husband alone?” Chao responded as McConnell got into the SUV.
“I’m not trying to disrespect you, but why is he separating families?” the young man said. “I’m not trying to disrespect you. He’s separating families.”
An angry Chao told the protesters to “leave him alone” as she tried to walk to the other side of the SUV with the help of security guards.
“No, he’s not” separating families, she said. “You leave my husband alone,” she added, pointing at the group.
“How does he sleep at night? How does he sleep at night?” one protester asked.
The video had been viewed more than 200,000 times in two hours on Tuesday afternoon:
A reporter for the Hill newspaper caught the episode on camera and posted it to Twitter:
Chao’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for McConnell declined to comment.
Chao and McConnell are not the only Republican officials who have been confronted over the separation of migrant families at the border.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen faced protesters when she dined at a Mexican restaurant last week; White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, Va., over the weekend; and protesters gathered outside the apartment of Trump adviser Stephen Miller on Monday night.