An organization known as "ShutDownDC" drew national scrutiny on Tuesday after a tense encounter outside the home of Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., led the lawmaker to refer to the far-left group’s membership as "Antifa scumbags."
Hawley accused members of the group of vandalism and making threats against his family during a protest outside his Washington, D.C.-area home. ShutDownDC said it had staged an "hour-long vigil" in order to "demand that he drop his baseless contestation of the 2020 presidential election results."
The senator described the protestors as "Antifa scumbags" in a series of scathing tweets following the incident. In response, the group tweeted that its members are "absolutely and unapologetically anti-fascists."
Hawley was the first Republican senator to declare his intent to object to the Electoral College’s vote results.
ShutDown DC was founded in 2019 "to respond to the Youth Climate Strikes’ Call to Action," according to its website. The group says it is "committed to anti-oppressive principles, transformative justice, and sustainable organizing.
"We will work together to take appropriate measures to assess risks and keep each other safe," the ShutDownDC website says, "But we also recognize that forcing Trump from office is the only way to protect ourselves and the people we love from Trump’s wrath, so we will act with the urgency that the situation requires."
Trump and other prominent Republicans have long alleged that individuals linked to "Antifa" were responsible for violent demonstrations in cities across the country. However, top law enforcement officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, have asserted that Antifa is an ideology rather than an organized group.
Local police said no one was arrested during the incident at Hawley’s home. The demonstrators left the area after officers explained that they were violating local picketing laws.
A 51-minute video showed the demonstrators chanting and writing in chalk outside Hawley’s home. Protestors also approached the front door of the house.
Authorities in Washington D.C. prepared for widespread protests and counter-protests this week as Congress conducts its review of the Electoral College’s voting results.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.