President Donald Trump called the women who, over the last week, have confronted senators entering the Hart Senate Office Building elevators of being "rude elevator screamers" likely paid by philanthropist George Soros.
"The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad," the president wrote early Friday morning. "Don't fall for it! Also, look at all of those professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others."
Since last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, women protesting in the Capitol have taken advantage of any face time with senators supporting Brett Kavanaugh or undecided on him to try and swing their votes.
Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, two sexual assault survivors, were the first to make news by confronting a senator face-to-face when they intercepted Arizona Senator Jeff Flake as he was stepping into an elevator last Friday.
“I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me," Archila told Flake. "I didn’t tell anyone, and you’re telling all women they don’t matter."
When Flake bowed his head, Archila said: "Don’t look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me, that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies.”
Mere hours after the exchange, Flake, during a procedural vote on Kavanaugh, requested an FBI investigation into Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.
"I have been speaking with a number of people on the other side," Flake said at the time. "I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote up to—but not more than—one week in order to let the FBI do an investigation limited in time and scope to the current allegations that are there."
Seeing Archila and Gallagher's success in swaying Flake, other protesters adopted their strategy.
On Thursday, another protester confronted West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin—a Democrat who often votes with Republicans and who, as of Friday morning, remained undecided on his Kavanaugh vote—as he tried to board an elevator.
“As a survivor, I don’t understand how you can’t look me in the eye,” the woman told him.
“I can,” Manchin said. “I’m looking right at you.”
“Why are you going to vote yes on this?” she asked him.
Manchin replied: “How do you know I’m going to?”
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch found himself in a similar position as Manchin that same day, finding himself in a throng of women protesters by the Senate elevators whom he told to "grow up."
“Why aren’t you brave enough to talk to us?” one woman asked him.
When Hatch waved her away with his hand, she said: "Don't you wave your hand at me. I wave my hand at you."
“When you grow up I’ll be glad to," Hatch replied.
The Capitol has been flooded with protesters amid Kavanaugh's still-pending confirmation process. On Thursday, 302 demonstrators—most of them women—were arrested for protesting in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building and charged with "crowding, obstructing or incommoding under the D.C. code," according to a DCist report.
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Gallagher, who'd confronted Flake along with Archila, said it's important for survivors of sexual assault to do whatever they can to make their voices heard.
"Those four minutes in the elevator with Mr. Flake were a whirlwind, but I will never forget his eyes after I pleaded with him to look at me, to not look away," Gallagher wrote Thursday. "When he looked up, I didn’t see a senator. I saw a man, torn between his conscience and his party. And he saw me, a young woman trying to make a difference in the way that we can in a democracy: by using her voice."