On Thursday morning, Irene Kim nervously filed into the Senate confirmation hearing David Bernhardt, President Trump’s nominee to head upward the Department of the Interior. The Greenpeace activist was directly behind Bernhardt because he faced questions about his time as an oil lobbyist and conflicts of interests. So Kim along with also a friend seized the minute and place on swamp creature masks in protest.
Kim managed to remain for the entire hour the hearing — then viewed in amazement as the video of himself went viral throughout the internet.
Look in the desktop during Interior Secretary Nominee David Bernhardt's opening announcement.
Watch LIVE on C-SPAN3 https://t.co/i3oegv9okf pic.twitter.com/UiiaVfV8h2
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 28, 2019
I talked with Kim about exactly what it was like in the hearing, and also she decided to demonstration in this manner. This interview was lightly edited and condensed.
Q. Why change into a swamp creature live on C-SPAN?
A. What we were trying to accomplish was to bring absurdity to this entire situation. Our reality right now is indeed absurd. To be sure folks are paying attention, we desired to make light of the situation.
I possess a good deal of climate despair right now. I’ve been feeling very discouraged by everything that is happening, and I really desired to do something interesting. This was kind of an amazing way to do it.
Q. Talk me during that instant.
A. When I first obtained to the area, I understood it was going to be very serious. I understood I didn’t desire to get detained. I just desired to be certain to pull this off in the simplest way possible.
I really desired to position myself to be close to David Bernhardt as possible. But that C-SPAN camera being there; this was pure chance. I watched C-SPAN’s tweet, and my head was totally aligned, therefore I believed to myself: “This is our opportunity. There’s nothing else to do right now except this.”
Q. What was going through your mind?
A. I think people are focusing on saying that I appeared really graceful and I didn’t look afraid or anything, however I was really really scared doing this. I had a whole lot of nerves. I tried to station as much fierce power of strong women and non-binary people that I understood who can also be out there fighting and resisting our administration. Resisting is frightful, but as soon as you’re capable to do it, it’s so freeing.
My entire body was shaking, only since I didn’t understand what to anticipate in the first couple of minutes of putting that mask on. I believed they were going to tug me two minutes in. To be able to remain for the complete hour was truly awesome.
Q. How did other people respond?
A. It felt like a number of the senators doing the questioning watched me and were talking among themselves, but nobody actually interacted with me.
I didn’t get arrested. I only received a warning, and has been escorted from the room. I tried hard not to be a disturbance, since I understand how Capitol Police work, and I’ve seen them in action when folks are participating in protests like this. I really desired to be certain it didn’t become mad.
Q. What’s already been the response?
A. We did exactly what we desired to accomplish, but it was to be a whole lot more viral than we anticipated. People have been really, really supportive and uplifting what we did. It’s really amazing to see.