Wheeling grad who leads pro-Trump group confronted at restaurant
Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens are outspoken leaders of the pro-Trump organization Turning Point USA. Kirk, the founder, has been called a conservative provocateur with the ear of the president. Owens, the spokeswoman, has received tweet-based praise from Kanye West -- and together Kirk, who is a Wheeling High School alumnus, and Owens say they are "culture warriors" trying "to save Western Civilization" from liberals.
But on Monday morning, they were hungry diners who showed up at Philadelphia's Green Eggs Cafe in Midtown before it opened and managed to nab a window seat.
Then the screaming started.
The pair barely had time to peruse the menu before people -- apparently demonstrators -- started jeering at them from other tables, Malik Joe, the Green Eggs Cafe's manager, told The Washington Post.
Outside their window, they could see a large group of protesters approaching the restaurant, flanked by police.
"At first, I thought it was a vegan protest," Joe said. At that point, he was unaware of the controversy that surrounded the people who'd walked into his restaurant on 13th Street. The protesters "were screaming at one guy sitting in the window and I looked and he was laughing."
"The protesters were screaming 'White Supremacist' and something about immigrants." Joe said the protesters also flung food and objects.
At some point, Owens pulled out her phone. She tweeted the scene from inside and outside the restaurant, including the moment when one demonstrator dumped a cup of something onto Kirk's head.
"Charlie Kirk and I just got ATTACKED and protested by ANTIFA for eating breakfast," Owens wrote a short time later. "They are currently following us through Philly. ALL BLACK AND HISPANIC police force protecting us as they scream."
On Twitter, Kirk said the incident was a direct result of Maxine Waters's (D-Calif.) call for public harassment of Trump administration officials.
"This is … Maxine Waters' America," he wrote. "She called for these sort of attacks."
He and Owens "were peacefully eating breakfast this morning," Kirk tweeted. "Within 20 mins ANTIFA mobilized a protest, started screaming at us, attacked us, & threatened death against us. This is the face of the Democrats. Conservatives aren't safe -- @RepMaxineWaters called for this."
Kirk was apparently referring to a rally in Los Angeles in June, where Waters commented on the public harassment of Trump administration officials. (Neither Kirk nor Owens qualifies as such.) Waters's words came after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen left a Mexican restaurant amid cries of "Shame!"
"The American people have put up with this president long enough. What more do we need to see? What more lies do we need to hear?" Waters said. "If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them!"
Sanders pushed back at the White House press briefing, as The Washington Post's John Wagner and Avi Selk reported. She said people should be allowed to disagree "freely and without fear of harm" regardless of their political leaning.
Police did not confirm Owens's claims that the protesters were Antifa or that the pair was "ATTACKED."
A spokesman for the Philadelphia Police Department told The Washington Post on Monday morning that he had not yet heard of the incident, and could not say whether charges were filed or anyone was arrested.
Chris Hahn, a former aide to Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democratic radio host told Fox News' Laura Ingraham that he was suspicious about what sparked the protest.
"I was very dubious on this protest," he told Ingraham. "I don't know how these people found Charlie Kirk and Ms. Owens, Candace Owens, in Philadelphia. I'm suspicious of this, whether or not this is real or not. I'm not saying I know for sure, I don't."
But Owens told The Post on Tuesday "we didn't manufacture" the protest.
She said she and Kirk had been to the restaurant before, showed up when it opened Monday and noticed people with antifa decals sitting at a nearby table. But those people didn't interact with Kirk and Owens for nearly 20 minutes, she said.
"They came there. They saw us, they put out their bat signals or whatever," she said. "And a few minutes later, 20 people show up."
In an email to The Post, Kirk said "The accusation we staged a protest against ourselves is hard to even address seriously."
The Daily Caller reported that Kirk had opted to not press charges.
Joe said he would have called the police about the disruption, but officers were already there.
His diners were surprised, but no one was injured. The only casualty was a broken plate.