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Activist Ana Maria Archila blasts Trump's paid protester tweet

Ana Maria Archila said "the pain, the trauma, and the rage" that she expressed was all her own.

Ana Maria Archila, seen here in New York

Ana Maria Archila, seen here in New York City on May 11, 2017, said President Donald Trump's claim that she is a paid protester is an attempt to discredit real experiences of people who dare to stand up to his administration.   Photo Credit: Monica Schipper

A Queens activist who went viral last week after she cornered Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator and scolded him for his support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is firing back at President Donald Trump’s assertion on Friday that she is a paid protester.

Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, said firmly that, “the pain, the trauma, and the rage,” that she expressed to Flake ahead of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote on Kavanaugh was all her own.

“And I held it for more than 30 years to protect the people I love from it,” said Archila, who has identified herself as a victim of sexual assault.

Earlier Friday, Trump took to Twitter in an attempt to sow seeds of doubt among the American public about the legitimacy of the near-round-the-clock protests over his conservative nominee to the nation’s highest court.

“The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by [George Soros] and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers,” Trump tweeted.

Archila and another activist, identified by CNN as Maria Gallagher, had chased down and successfully held Flake in the elevator just minutes after he announced he would vote to move the nomination of Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by three women, to a full Senate vote without an FBI investigation into the allegations.

Kavanaugh, a conservative judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has repeatedly denied the claims.

After the encounter, Flake cut a momentous deal with Democrats and demanded that the full Senate vote be delayed for a week so that the FBI could investigate the accusations against Kavanaugh.

“President Trump is, again, trying to ignore the experiences of people in this country by discrediting individuals who dare to raise our voices and force elected officials to listen to our stories, to look us in the eye, to not turn away,” Archila said in response to Trump’s tweet. “He represents precisely what is wrong with our democracy.

But the lesson from my elevator conversation is that when we force political leaders to connect with us, with our humanity, we can breathe life into our democracy.”

The FBI completed its investigation on Thursday, and the Senate is expected to vote Saturday on Kavanaugh's nomination.

This isn’t the first time Trump has claimed that protests against him were the machinations of wealthy liberals.

In April 2017, Trump called for an investigation into coordinated rallies held across the country demanding the president release his tax returns.

“Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” Trump tweeted the day after the protests.

Trump has not released his tax returns.


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