What: A welcome disruption at a confirmation hearing that’s part of a budding trend.
Who: Environmental activists and others.
Why we care: Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes, they wear masks. At least that was the case on Thursday when, according to the Washington Post, activists from the Clean Water Fund, Environment America, Public Citizen, and Greenpeace disrupted acting interior secretary David Bernhardt’s confirmation hearing by donning swamp creature masks. The silent protest was meant to draw attention to the shoddy environmental record of the nominee, who is succeeding the scandal-plagued Ryan Zinke, a fearless crusader for the oil and gas industry.
“David Bernhardt heading the Interior Department would be a dream come true for fossil fuel companies, but a nightmare for the American people. If ethical violations alone don’t disqualify him from holding this position, his record of selling out public lands and waters to his industry buddies should,” said Greenpeace’s Janet Redman in a press release.
(1) So why did we bring these swamp creatures to David Bernhardt's confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary this morning? Well… Bernhardt is a former oil and gas lobbyist who previously worked to help corporate polluters get their hands on public lands. pic.twitter.com/TrnqkhFQUv
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) March 28, 2019
Perhaps these environmental groups were inspired by Ian Madrigal, a dedicated activist who has been playing dress-up in highly public hearings of late. He posed as the Monopoly Man during a hearing with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Mick Mulvaney last April and as a cartoonish, literal Russian troll at one of Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings that same month. Anyone can tweet, but it takes some kind of chutzpah to show up in a court of law dressed up in silly costumes chock-full of meaning, all in order to take a stand for what you believe in.