A Code Pink heckler thought she was protesting the president, but in reality she helped President Obama make his case that GITMO must be closed immediately.
Obama was explaining that there was no justification for Congress to prevent him from closing GITMO, when a Code Pink heckler interrupted him. The president said, “Let me finish ma’am.” The heckler started ranting about the detainee hunger strike, and the president replied, “I’m about to address it ma’am, but you’ve got to let me speak. I’m about to address it ma’am. Why don’t you sit down, and I’ll tell you exactly what I am going to do.” The Code Pink heckler was incorrectly claiming that Obama is Commander in Chief so he can close GITMO. This is true, but the president needs funding from Congress in order to close the facility, and move the detainees. Congress continues to refuse to fund the closure of GITMO.
The Code Pinker wasn’t going to swayed by anything that the president had to say, so she continued to rant. Finally, the president said, “Thank you. Thank you, ma’am. You should let me finish my sentence. Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GITMO.” The protester who has been identified as Medea Benjamin interrupted the president a third time. His patience wearing thin, the president said, “Part of free speech is you being able to speak, but also me being able to speak. And you listening.”
Obama later said that he cut her some slack with her interruptions, and admitted that she had a point. The president also mentioned that he thought Benjamin wasn’t listening to a word he said.
Do you want to know why President Obama let her speak? This is going to come as a shock to the far left, but Obama agrees with her on the basic idea that GITMO must be closed. By letting the Code Pink protester ramble on, President Obama got his message about Congress needing to authorize the transfer of detainees out of GITMO on the frontpage of every website, and it will be the lead story all over cable news tonight.
Code Pink has been grossly misinformed, as has much of the far left, about the political maneuverings that have resulting in Congress blocking the closure of GITMO. They want to blame Obama, because as Benjamin put it, he is the commander in chief. Their childlike naive view of presidential power is that the president can do anything, but that’s not the way it works.
In March, Republicans admitted that they are the ones who are preventing GITMO civilian trials, yet groups like Code Pink continue to blame Obama.
The president needs funding in order to close the facility and move the detainees. Congress refuses to grant that funding. Obama has been down this road numerous times on GITMO. He gets everything ready to close the facility and move the detainees, only to see Congress refuses to fund it.
Obama handled the heckler beautifully, and the whole thing worked out to his advantage, because now the world will get to see who is really preventing the closure GITMO.
Since 2009, congressional Democrats have repeatedly screwed Obama by refusing to close GITMO. If Code Pink and the rest of the far left want to protest those responsible for GITMO still being open, they should start with Harry Reid.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association