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Protesters Surround RNC Headquarters Amid Trump Meetings

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Whatever was happening inside those Trump meetings this morning would've had a hard time competing with what was going on outside. We heard a little bit of that scene at the top of Susan's report, but there was so much more. NPR's Brakkton Booker and Sarah McCammon were also there, and we asked them to describe what they saw.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Brakkton, you have covered a lot of events on Capitol Hill.

BRAKKTON BOOKER, BYLINE: Yeah, that's kind of my thing.

MCCAMMON: How did this one compare?

BOOKER: I think we have to separate this and put this in its own category just because there were so many things going on. There were groups of protesters, most of them from the organization United We Dream. They had a replica of a coffin, and they laid it at the steps of the RNC with a stuffed elephant in it. And it was supposed to symbolize the death of the GOP.

MCCAMMON: And these protesters rolled up, you know - they had anti- Trump signs, and one of them had this huge papier-mache head over his head.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Mr. Ryan will meet with me today, and he will do what I say because Donald's in the House now.

BOOKER: And part of this guy's getup was that he was in a suit with money coming out of his jacket pocket, and he was holding bags of money.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: This is the cornerstone of my new administration.

MCCAMMON: The next thing that I saw, Brakkton, was a man wearing a pro-Donald Trump shirt - a Make America Great Again shirt - sets up a speaker and starts playing this Christian music.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ARTIST: (Singing) Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.

MCCAMMON: This is "Open The Eyes Of My Heart, Lord." You go onto any evangelical church, at least when I was growing up, and you would hear this song. And then in between sort of choruses or whatever, he lifts up this shofar. It's like a ram's horn. I'm - and I can't even explain - I don't know why.

BOOKER: It sounded like a vuvuzela...

MCCAMMON: Yeah.

BOOKER: From the World Cup of...

MCCAMMON: Soccer.

BOOKER: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOFAR SOUNDING)

MCCAMMON: He's all by himself but then within a few minutes, the protesters come closer, and the Donald Trump papier-mache head guy and the shofar guy start interacting.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: God you died - and God bring...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I have no idea what this guy is saying. (Unintelligible) What the hell?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: ...Bring blessings.

MCCAMMON: There were a lot of people walking by trying to figure out what was going on between the shofar guy and the Donald Trump papier-mache head.

BOOKER: That wasn't it though. Just when you didn't think it could get any weirder there, a guy starts playing bagpipes, and he's in full traditional Scottish garb.

(SOUNDBITE OF BAGPIPE MUSIC)

BOOKER: And he just starts playing, and he said the reason why it was just because he wanted to add more color to this experience outside the RNC.

MCCAMMON: Which was obviously what this day needed.

BOOKER: Yes.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Sarah McCammon and Brakkton Booker who were outside RNC headquarters here in Washington, D.C., today as Donald Trump met with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.