President Barack Obama is used to hecklers stopping him during speeches – but he draws the line when the audience interrupts him in his own house.
As Obama was speaking at a White House event honoring LGBT Pride Month on Wednesday, an accented voice rang out from the crowd. Obama wasn’t amused.
“Shame on you,” he told his heckler, who was protesting deportations under the Obama administration.
Obama responded, “Listen you’re in my house … it’s not respectful.”
The interruption persisted, however, and Obama asked for the heckler to be removed from the East Room.
“As a general rule I am just fine with a few hecklers. But not when I’m up here in the house,” he said, as Vice President Joe Biden clapped him on the back.
Obama said later if guests are “eating the hors d’oeuvres and drinking the booze,” they’re typically expected to listen respectfully.
Shortly after the incident, an immigration group claimed the protestor was an undocumented immigrant named Jennicet Gutiérrez, who is transgender. According to a press release, Gutiérrez was a founding member of FAMILIA TQLM, established to advocate for LGBTQ immigrants who the group says are often excluded in the immigration debate.
Immigration activists often interrupt Obama when he’s delivering speeches on the road – examples have included remarks he delivered in San Francisco in 2013, and speeches he delivered in Chicago and Las Vegas last November.
Interruptions are more rare at the White House, where guests are typically invited and pre-screened. One previous example came in June 2012, when Obama was announcing a change in immigration policy.
A reporter from the Daily Caller website called out a query in the middle of Obama’s remarks, leading the President to retort that it wasn’t the time for questions.
The reporter later said he miscalculated the ending of Obama’s speech.