Michelle Obama threatens to leave fundraiser after protester Ellen Sturtz heckles her
Michelle Obama’s speech at a Washington, D.C. political fundraiser was interrupted by a protester on Tuesday night, and she threatened to leave the event if the gay rights activist wasn’t forced to leave.
However, the official White House transcript doesn’t indicate anything about the heckler or Michelle Obama’s audible reaction.
While Michelle Obama was speaking to approximately 200 Democratic Party loyalists who paid up to $10,000 to attend the event at the swanky Washington home of a wealthy lesbian couple, the protester interrupted with demands that the president issue an executive order forcing federal contractors to stop discriminating against gay and transgendered job applicants.
Amanda Terkel, a Huffington Post scribe who served as the night’s “pool reporter”, wrote that the “[m]ost notable part of the event was an interruption from a protester about 12 minutes into the 20-minute speech. A pro-LGBT rights individual standing at the front began shouting for an executive order on gay rights”.
“<<One of the things I don’t do well is this>>, replied FLOTUS to loud applause,” according to Amanda Terkel.
“She left the lectern and moved over to the protester, saying they could <<listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice>>.”
The crowd, the pool report continued, “started shouting that they wanted FLOTUS to stay”.
Amanda Terkel reported that when the protester was escorted out, she shouted about being a “lesbian looking for federal equality before I die”.
In a later report, she added that “Heather Cronk, co-director of the pro-LGBT rights group GetEQUAL, … identified the protester as one of their activists, Ellen Sturtz”.
Amanda Terkel advised her fellow reporters to “[p]lease check quotes with [the] official transcript”.
But when the White House’s transcript arrived, The Daily Caller reported Tuesday night, it didn’t include any indication of an acrimonious exchange – and was missing Michelle Obama’s threat to leave the event.
The only indication in that transcript that anything was amiss is a note about an “(Inaudible audience interruption.)”
“I lived and worked in the closet, hiding who I was in order to earn a living,” Ellen Sturtz said in a statement late Tuesday night.
“I had planned to speak tonight with DNC officials but, as the First Lady was talking about our children’s future and ensuring that they have everything they need to live happy and productive lives, I simply couldn’t stay silent any longer.”
“I’m looking ahead at a generation of young people who could live full, honest, and open lives with the stroke of the President’s pen,” she insisted.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took an oddly coincidental question earlier in the day during his regularly scheduled briefing about the same discrimination issue that had Ellen Sturtz shouting at the top of her lungs.
A reporter asked Jay Carney for a progress report on “a study of LGBT workplace discrimination possibly led by the Council of Economic Advisors”, which was commissioned in 2012 after the president declined to sign an executive order banning the practice.
“I don’t have any updated status on that for you,” Jay Carney said.
“I can tell you that the president has long supported, as you know, an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. … And his administration will continue to work to build support for it.”
“The president’s record on support for LGBT rights is significant and well known,” Barack Obama’s chief spokesman added.
Michelle Obama, he said, “believes that the right approach to this problem is an inclusive piece of legislation, and that’s the approach that we’re taking. It was the approach that we took with repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And we continue to support this effort”.