President Barack Obama has faced his share of hecklers in the past seven years, but Wednesday he took on one at a gay pride month reception at the White House, scolding the protester for being disrespectful “in my house.”
The heckler had interrupted Obama’s remarks by protesting the detention and deportation of gay, lesbian and transgender immigrants.
The Chicago Tribune said the heckler was a woman identified in a press release from the anti-deportation group Not1More as Jennicet Gutierrez, transgender and undocumented.
The incident occurred as Obama was hosting a reception to observe LGBT Pride Month in the East Room.
A heckler is removed for an extended interruption of U.S. President Barack Obama as he played host to a reception to observe LGBT Pride Month in the East Room at the White House in Washington, June 24, 2015.
The heckler, repeatedly interrupting Obama, could be heard shouting about deportations in English and Spanish.
Nearly 2 minutes
At first, Obama said, “Hold on a second.” But the heckler continued to disrupt the proceedings for nearly 2 minutes.
Finally, wagging his finger, Obama said, «Hey. Listen. You’re in my house,» to laughter from the friendly crowd.
«You know what? It’s not respectful when you get invited to somebody. You’re not going to get a good response from me by interrupting me like this. I’m sorry. I’m sorry … Shame on you, you shouldn’t be doing this.»
Exasperated, the president asked for the person to be escorted out.
Obama, visibly annoyed by the interruption, later joked with the crowd: «As a general rule I am just fine with a few hecklers. But not when I’m up in the house.»
As he continued with his speech, Obama said that regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in an upcoming decision on gay marriage, there has been an undeniable shift in attitudes across the country.
He said he’s closely watching the decisions the high court will announce in the coming days, which include a case that could affirm the right of gay couples nationwide to marry.
The president singled out discrimination facing transgender Americans as an area where more progress needs to be made.