The Slatest

Leon Panetta Tried to Denounce Trump at DNC, but Hecklers Wouldn’t Let Him

Former CIA director Leon Panetta attempted to warn the Democratic National Convention of the threat to the world posed by a President Donald Trump on Wednesday, but a small but vocal minority of conventioneers were having nothing of it.

A group of apparently pro–Bernie Sanders delegates heckled Panetta and interrupted his speech at key moments with chants of “No more wars!” and “Lies! Lies! Lies!”

The heckling appeared to be coming mainly from the Washington delegation. Some delegates were holding handmade signs that included slogans such as “Stop Pretending Everything Is Okay,” “Hillary for Fear,” “A Hawk Is Not a Dove,” “End the Drone Wars,” “Ban Fracking,” and “Rigged election? DNC email [illegible]? Kaine? Unity? B.S.”

When the lights were killed in a section with some of the most vocal hecklers, many of them held up their phone lights in apparent protest.

Again, Panetta was attempting to warn of the foreign policy dangers posed by a Trump presidency. “Donald Trump says he gets his foreign policy experience from watching TV and running the Miss Universe pageant,” he said. “If only it were funny. But it is deadly serious. Donald Trump asks our troops to commit war crimes, endorses torture, spurns our allies from Europe to Asia, suggests that countries have nuclear weapons, and he praises dictators from Saddam Hussein to Vladimir Putin.” It was around this time that the protest got underway, and it certainly distracted from Panetta’s attempted message.

When you’ve lost the author of “Get Your War On,” maybe you’re being slightly counterproductive.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.