STORRS–Student protesters disrupted a Linda McMahon campaign rally on Monday, forcing the Republican U.S. Senate candidate to move and then cut short a mid-morning event at the University of Connecticut.
As McMahon greeted the students, Brenna Regan, a 20-year-old junior, tried to present the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO with a “lifetime achievement award for promoting violence against women.”
Two other students in the crowd of about 40 carried signs that read, “McMahon Profits from Violence Against Women” and “Can’t Buy My Vote.”
McMahon brushed passed Regan and the other protesters and turned to take a few questions from waiting reporters.
McMahon told the media that the race was “neck and neck” according to her internal polls, and she touted her campaign’s “great ground game.” But within a few minutes, a small scuffle broke out, as one of the McMahon supporters grabbed and crumpled one of the protesters’ signs.
“Linda Hurts Women! Linda Hurts Women!” the demonstrators, about a dozen or so students, shouted. Her supporters tried to drown them out with chants of “Linda! Linda! Linda!”
But McMahon’s campaign staff quickly shut down the event, which they had already moved from a room inside the student union to outside the library, where she had a clearer exit path, when they realized protesters were in attendance.
As McMahon made her way back to her car, the protesters followed her, with Regan trying to get close enough to hand off the award and asking McMahon about a WWE clip in which a woman is told to get down on her hands and knees and bark like a dog.
Her campaign staff tried to get Regan to back off, but McMahon said the student had a “First Amendment right” to speak her mind. “She can talk. She’s not very well informed,” McMahon said, even as she continued to ignore the woman’s questions.
“Thank you for bringing violence to our campus!” one of the protesters shouted as she climbed back into her car.
The campus police soon arrived, after one of the protesters called to file an incident report about his crumpled sign. The woman who grabbed his sign, who declined to give her name, said the protestor had pushed her.
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