Desiree Fairooz is a retired librarian and full-time grandmother who, by her telling in a recent Vox piece, enjoys hiking, gardening, and reading during her golden years. But Fairooz has another, more unusual hobby: The 61-year-old Code Pink activist likes to disrupt Congress.
Recently, her pastime has landed her in legal trouble and in an adoring media spotlight. But Fairooz is no martyr.
When then-Sen. Jeff Sessions came before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his attorney general confirmation hearing, Fairooz and company turned the proceedings into a circus. Some dressed up like Klansmen, others wore pink Statue of Liberty costumes, and all jeered.
Since then Fairooz has become something of a liberal célèbre because of inaccurate reports that she's facing jail time for laughing during the proceedings. As our own Becket Adams explains, Fairooz wasn't convicted just for laughing at the suggestion that Sessions would treat Americans equally, or as she asserts "just because I let out a chuckle at a public hearing."
Specifically, Fairooz is being charged for parading and picketing, an activity that's strictly prohibited inside the Capitol. But that fact hasn't stopped Fairooz from painting herself as just another mild-mannered citizen standing up to an aggressive government.
And maybe that would be believable if this was her first time in the spotlight for protesting.
During a 2007 congressional hearing, Fairooz covered her hands in fake blood before charging then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice while screaming "war criminal." Then-Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., ordered her and her Code Pink cadres out. She didn't go quietly.
Struggling with the mild-mannered senior, Rice's diplomatic security nearly knocked over Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. And after they hauled Fairooz from the committee room, the protester could still be heard shrieking as she smeared red paint against the Capitol hallways.
Charged with "defacing government property" and "assaulting a federal officer," Fairooz got off easy. She received a suspended five-day sentence for disorderly conduct. It's not clear if she will be that lucky this time around.
Next month, a jury will gather to decide Fairooz's fate. She's facing up to a year in jail for her conduct during and after the Sessions hearing. And while a harsh sentence doesn't seem in order, the defense that she's simply a mild-mannered grandmother is completely laughable.
Fairooz is no martyr. In her retirement, she's made a career for herself as a professional nuisance.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.