Gov. Ned Lamont Credit: Christine Stuart / File photo

Gov. Ned Lamont told reporters Tuesday he was embarrassed by the behavior of demonstrators who last week shouted curses at President Joe Biden during a Friday visit to a Hartford day care center.

During an afternoon trip through Connecticut, Biden used Hartford’s Capitol Child Development Center as a backdrop to pitch his $3.5 trillion Build Back Better proposal. The president interacted with some children on a playground while a group of protestors had gathered behind police barriers across Capitol Avenue. 

Lamont recounted the event Tuesday during a Capitol press conference to highlight voting options during next month’s municipal elections.

“We saw the president on one knee, surrounded by some parents and teachers and 35 kids – something these kids will never forget for the rest of their lives – and right across the fence were angry protesters, yelling, cursing, dropping the F-bomb, and it was embarrassing,” Lamont said.

The governor urged upset residents to get involved in their communities, run for office and cast ballots rather than curse their elected officials. 

“I know these elections can be contentious and I know they tear people apart and then the election’s over, you get back together and you get to work. I would have said the same thing if it was President Donald Trump in that day care center as well,” Lamont said. “That’s not who we are as Americans. That’s not who we are as Connecticut.”

The curses hurled at the president are not the first instance of scathing rhetoric recently in Connecticut. Lamont’s comments come less than two weeks after a state representative, Republican Anne Dauphinais, prompted objections by comparing him to Adolph Hitler on CTNewsJunkie’s Facebook page and later refused to apologize for it. In August, Lamont and education officials abruptly concluded a back-to-school forum in Cheshire after irate parents shouted down the speakers. 

Asked why he brought up the behavior of last week’s protesters, Lamont said it was still fresh in his memory and saw it as a stark contrast to “the dignity of Colin Powell,” the former U.S. defense secretary whose death due to COVID-19 complications was announced Monday. Lamont’s office put out a statement praising Powell’s patriotism despite policy differences. Powell served as the nation’s first Black defense secretary under Republican administrations. Lamont later ordered flags to half-staff in his honor.

Lamont said he did not discuss the conduct of the protesters with Biden, but he was confident the president heard the shouts. 

“You could hear it loud and clear from the playground at the day care center,” Lamont said.