UPRISING: GOP legislators face angry constituents at town halls
“Blue America” has its own Tea Party, and it’s making waves – and unnerving Republicans who are now realizing that draconian immigration policies are not popular, Obamacare is more than just popular – it is necessary for far more of their constituents than they want to believe, and Donald Trump is wildly unpopular – nd it’s rubbing off on them! Let’s take a look around teh country at yeaterday’s developments.
Rep. Steve Womack got a spanking for congressional wasteghazi:
An Arkansas Republican lawmaker dismissed calls to investigate President Donald Trump — and he got an earful from an angry constituent.
Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) hosted a “coffee with the congressman” event Tuesday morning at the West Fork City Hall, where more than 150 people packed the room to air their concerns, reported KHBS-TV.
An even larger crowd gathered outside, and they wondered why Womack couldn’t have rescheduled the event at a larger venue or simply stepped outside to address them.
Voters asked about health care, the environment and the anti-science worldview held by so many legislators, and Womack said Republicans had been elected to roll back government regulations that he argued had killed job growth.
A man in the crowd asked Womack to answer yes or no whether he’d support a probe of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, and the lawmaker said he didn’t want multiple “rogue” investigations possibly revealing classified information.
“You guys just want to investigate everybody,” Womack said, and was quickly drowned in boos.
Several people in the crowd reminded Womack of the lengthy GOP probes of the Benghazi attacks, and one man shouted out above the noise.
“You guys wasted a lot of money on Benghazi, waste a little on Trump,” he said, to extended cheers.
After the event, Womack suggested he was ambushed by protesters from outside his district.
. @rep_stevewomack: "You guys want to investigate everybody"
Crowd: "You guys wasted a lot of money on Benghazi, waste a little on Trump!!" pic.twitter.com/V1SDAYcv80
— Yashar (@yashar) February 22, 2017
We mentioned Charles Grassley’s disastrous encounter with an Afgani refugee – an appearance where he was also confronted by constituents scared of losing their Obamacare:
“I’m on Obamacare. If it wasn’t for Obamacare, we wouldn’t be able to afford insurance,” Chris Petersen, an Iowa pig farmer, told his Senator. “Don’t repeal Obamacare, improve it!” he said. The crowd broke out in cheers.
Angry constituents confront Chuck Grassley in Iowa: “If it wasn’t for Obamacare, we wouldn’t be able to afford insurance!” pic.twitter.com/vrbhbOiBMM
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 21, 2017
“With all due respect sir, you’re the man that talked about the death panels. We’re gonna create one great big death panel in this country of people that can’t afford to get insurance,” Petersen told his senator.
Activists turned the tables on Sen. Joni Ernst’s so-called “Veterans’ roundtable” …:
… in the tiny eastern Iowa town [of Maquokets] — far away from the anti-Trump and pro-Obamacare protests that have filled cities in recent weeks.
It mirrored the playbook other Republican lawmakers have used during this week’s congressional break: A narrow topic covered in a rural portion of her state, in a public building with limited space. The Maquoketa City Hall room holds about 100 people, an Ernst spokeswoman said.
But when Ernst arrived, the room was full, with dozens more crammed into the doorway and spilling into an atrium and adjacent hallways.
People who had driven two hours across Iowa to attend greeted her with chants of “We want our voices heard!” and “Your last term!”
Ernst slipped in a side door, ignored the protests and called almost exclusively on veterans. She fielded just one question on health care and abruptly ended the event after 45 minutes, with a long line of people still waiting to ask questions.
All the while, the microphones cut out, making it impossible for those outside the room to hear the questions.
Joni Ernst walks in to deafening chant of "Your Last Term!" that overpowers the applause pic.twitter.com/Wc9TKh31Cz
— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) February 21, 2017
MAQUOKETA, Iowa — It's a packed house for what was billed as a small veterans' event with Sen. Joni Ernst. pic.twitter.com/XjwfIidCsa
— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) February 21, 2017
Deb Fischer got an earful in Lincoln, Nebraska:
Between 200 and 300 protesters, shouting phrases like “Do your job” and “Meet with us,” disrupted the final moments of a speaking engagement of U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., on Tuesday.
Fischer, back in Nebraska during a recess week for Congress, spoke at noon during a closed meeting of the Lincoln Independent Business Association at a downtown Lincoln meeting hall.
A group called “Indivisible Lincoln” had called for a protest to object to her unwillingness to schedule a town hall meeting with the general public while making time for a special interest group like the business association.
As Fischer was wrapping up a question-and-answer session with association members, a group of protesters who had gathered outside the Grand Manse building began entering hallways of the structure, chanting “Do your job.”
Some began banging on a window that separated a hallway from the meeting hall where Fischer was answering questions. Her appearance ended shortly after the disruption.
Protesters never gained entrance to the meeting hall, and no one was arrested.
Fischer ultimately left the building via a back door. She waved at a group of about 50 protesters gathered there who carried signs with messages including “Be a no way in hell woman, not a yes woman.”
Someone even had the temerity to get in Mitch McConnell’s face!
An angry constituent at Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) speech at the Lawrenceburg Chamber of Commerce in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky on Tuesday tore into the Senate majority leader over the Trump administration’s pledge to “bring back coal jobs” to the United States.
“The last I heard, these coal jobs are not coming back and now these people don’t have the insurance they need because they’re poor,” the woman yelled at the Senator. “And they work those coal mines, and they’re sick, the veterans are sick, the veterans are broken down, they’re not getting what they need.”
“If you can answer any of that, I’ll sit down and shut up, like Elizabeth Warren,” she added, recalling McConnell’s motion earlier this month to stop the Massachusetts senator from reading a letter by Coretta Scott King during Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing.
“I hope you feel better now,” McConnell responded, according to the Hill.
Translation: How DARE you make me uncomfortable!
Sign outside of Sen. Mitch McConnell's scheduled speech in Lawrenceburg, Ky. pic.twitter.com/sak9Xz1i5g
— Adam Beam (@adambeam) February 21, 2017
Angry constituent gives Mitch McConnell the what for pic.twitter.com/tyHseJVtqd
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 21, 2017
But some are scared to death of facing constituents at all:
Most Republicans in swing districts are steering clear of in-person town hall gatherings this week, hoping to avoid the anti-President Trump protesters determined to make them the star of a viral YouTube video.
Instead, these at-risk Republicans are holding small roundtable discussions, Facebook chats and virtual town halls — formats that can more easily be controlled than traditional meet-and-greets.
It’s a safer strategy, but one that comes with a political risk: Democrats are mocking Republicans for running away from their constituents as their party seeks to gut ObamaCare, build a border wall and temporarily ban travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.
Vulnerable two-term Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) hosted an online town hall on Tuesday but has not scheduled any in-person events, according to the Town Hall Project, which tracks constituent events. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) also will host a pair of virtual town halls later this week.
Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa), another top Democratic target, has scheduled “office hours” at two locations on Wednesday. And Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) has virtual town halls planned for March, but no large, in-person events.
And it seems Trump and his media enablers are also starting to sweat:
Our Cable News Consumer-In-Chief apparently has nothing better to do than sit around the White House in his jammies watching the likes of Jim DeMint complain about town hall attendees on the teevee machine, rather than doing his damn job.
At 6:11 PM Eastern time, Jim DeMint made the claim that the folks at town halls around the nation were “well financed and bused around to these town halls,” as if somehow liberals had the means and ability to do what DeMint’s group did in 2009. Despite the fact that many of these town hall attendees have actually resorted to wearing their zip codes as a badge to prove they’re constituents, DeMint persisted.
Then the Man Who Never Had An Original Thought sent out a tweet 12 minutes later. To be fair, he may have wanted to wait until the DeMint segment was over. It ended at approximately 6:20 PM or so, and Trump’s tweet went out at 6:23.
Apparently his takeaway was the town halls.
The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2017
We love Karoli’s snappy Twitter comeback:
We call it “democracy.” Look it up in a dictionary. Learn it well. You’ll see lots of it. I’m sorry you’re sad. https://t.co/Pp0yG4gA1z
— Karoli (@Karoli) February 21, 2017
Karoli also directed our attention to this tweet, in response to corporate apologist DeMint:
DeMint talks about well-funded? The Tea Parties had multiple branded buses rolling around—check the AFP logo in the corner of this one. 4/ pic.twitter.com/KXYvIeCb6o
— Jason Karsh (@jkarsh) February 22, 2017
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