Home » White House hosted meeting with climate activist group that sparked chaos at recent DC gala

White House hosted meeting with climate activist group that sparked chaos at recent DC gala

by John Jefferson
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The climate activist and protest group that caused chaos at a Washington, D.C., gala this week featuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, was recently hosted for a private meeting at the White House.

On Thursday, members of the Washington, D.C.-based Climate Defiance – which was founded in early 2023 by activists Michael Greenberg and Rylee Haught – physically disrupted the event hosted by the Bryce Harlow Foundation as Murkowski was delivering remarks. Then, in a moment captured on video, several activists were forcibly shoved by security off the stage, tumbling to the ground.

“We just shut down a gala honoring U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski is a murderer. She incinerates us to enrich her cronies. As Chevron’s top lobbyist gave her an award, we stepped in and stopped the ceremony,” Climate Defiance said in a social media post. “Respect us or expect us.”

According to video of the incident, which garnered nearly more than 3.5 million views in 24 hours, the Climate Defiance activists chanted anti-fossil fuels slogans as they were removed from the stage. The video further shows Murkowski slowly walking away as the activists tried to get closer to her.

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Climate Defiance also posted that Murkowski is an “ecocidal pyromaniac” and excoriated her for supporting the Willow Project, a massive oil drilling project in Alaska that the group characterized as “cruel and barbaric beyond description.”

The activist group has made a name for itself in recent months for disrupting events hosting lawmakers and public officials, as it demands aggressive climate action. It has shut down events with senior White House officials, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

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However, Climate Defiance, which has been widely criticized over its disruptive methods, was invited to the White House for a private meeting with President Biden’s senior clean energy czar John Podesta in December. 

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 24: Center for American Progress Co-founder John Podesta moderates a panel discussion during a conference commemorating the 10th anniversary of the center at the Astor Ballroom of the St. Regis Hotel October 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. Former Clinton Administration Chief of Staff Podesta co-founded the liberal public policy research and advocacy organization as a think tank that rivals conservative policy groups, such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

According to White House records, on Dec. 15, Podesta met privately with Greenberg, the Climate Defiance co-founder, and Climate Defiance campaigner Bala Sivaraman. The group later boasted on social media that it had met with the top official and publicly shared a letter that its members had handed to him.

“Thank you for taking the time to meet with us today,” the group wrote to Podesta in the letter. “We appreciate your willingness to heed our deeply-held concerns. Echoing the voices of millions of Americans, we write to you in the eleventh hour of the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced: planetary and societal collapse due to the continued burning of fossil fuels.”

“We urge you to wield your utmost authority to implement a swift end to any federal support for new fossil fuel infrastructure. Both the urgency of this action and the severe consequences of further delay cannot be overstated,” it continued. “Climate Defiance recognizes your commitment to climate action and commends you on your vital work developing and implementing the Inflation Reduction Act.”

The White House and Murkowski did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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