Public Town hall meetings by the GOP are being interrupted by organized groups all over the country. Many politicians have stopped holding them because of the constant disruptions and protests breaking out.
New Jersey lawmaker Rep. Tom MacArthur says his town hall schedule is on hold because he doesn’t “want to be baited into having an event that some outside group can just make a spectacle out of.’’
MacArthur has stated that many of his GOP colleagues had their events disrupted as “hundreds of people have been bused in and have been organized and, in some cases, have even been paid to disrupt and to steal your voice.”
“I think you have to realize what’s going on all over the country. Public town hall events are being hijacked by groups that are outside of the district that [the] member represents. You’ve seen them on TV.” MacArthur said.
Spokeswoman Camille Gallo said MacArthur “was simply referring to reports that he had read about outside groups attending congressional town halls. There is no doubt that special interest groups have been hijacking these forums with the intent to completely disrupt productive events and preventing local constituents from interacting with their congressman.”
Another example was cited by the Salt Lake Tribune when, last week in Utah, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, was confronted by over 1,000 people inside a high school auditorium, with another 1,500 people outside, and had to end his meeting early.
On Monday, New York Rep. Chris Collins and Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, both Republicans, said they don’t have plans to do any in-person town halls because of the current hostile climate.
Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black (R-Tenn) have also faced hostile crowds at their local events.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer stated that Trump protests are “not these organic uprisings that we’ve seen over the last several decades. The Tea Party was a very organic movement. This has become a paid AstroTurf-type movement.”
A video of a recent protest at a GOP gathering in Utah involving Rep. Jason Chaffetz is below:
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