Feb 18, 2017
Energized crowds in New York, South Carolina, and Wisconsin on Saturday morning gave lawmakers a hint of what awaits them in their home districts during the upcoming Congressional recess.
The Buffalo Newsreported that "[h]uge crowds of raucous progressives and quieter conservatives overwhelmed [Republican] Rep. Tom Reed's town hall meetings in Ashville and Cherry Creek Saturday morning, with the progressives repeatedly interrupting and shouting down the congressman's comments as he tried to defend Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act."
In Ashville, N.Y., so many people showed up that the meeting had to be moved outside to a parking lot.
\u201cView from behind the scenes at Rep. Tom Reed's town hall in Ashville. Energetic crowd. @WGRZ\u201d— Stephanie Barnes (@Stephanie Barnes) 1487432336
According to the paper, constituents chanted, "We want your healthcare! We want your healthcare!" as Reed tried to explain how the GOP plans to replace the Affordable Care Act with "a conservative plan that would include health savings accounts."
The crowd also took issue with Reed's recent committee vote against legislation that would have forced President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. "What are you covering up?" people shouted.
The New York Times provided video of the Ashville town hall:
Saturday's upstate New York town hall meetings came on the heels of a sit-in at Reed's Ithaca, N.Y., office, at which the congressman himself showed up to speak with protesters at 10:30pm Thursday night.
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Mark Sanford, both Republicans, met with equally stirred-up constituents on Saturday.
The Timesset the scene in Mount Pleasant, S.C.:
The Republican lawmakers stood with fixed smiles, shifting in place, facing down turmoil but no trial inside a municipal courtroom overstuffed with constituents.
Across the room, the first questioner foretold a long Saturday morning: "Are you personally proud," the man, Ernest Fava, 54, asked, referring to President Trump, "to have this person representing our country?" The 200-odd attendees stirred.
Senator Tim Scott tried first. "Given the two choices I had, I am thankful that Trump is our president," he said, to ferocious boos.
"You're not proud!" a woman shouted. "You're not proud."
BuzzFeed reporter Alexis Levinson (who live-tweeted the entire event) said the issue of healthcare "dominated" the joint town hall, though other questions were lobbed about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, ties between Russia and the Trump camp, and the administration's plan to build a border wall.
The Mount Pleasant meeting, too, migrated outside after several hours, and Sanford continued speaking with hundreds of people who hadn't made it into the room (Scott reportedly had to go to a funeral).
Post and Courier reporter Caitlin Byrd also live-tweeted:
\u201cPart two of town hall now happening outside. You can see why they didn't have enough room inside for all the folks. #chsnews #scnews\u201d— Caitlin Byrd (@Caitlin Byrd) 1487430686
\u201cQuestion now goes to @SenatorTimScott, about why he voted for DeVos for Education Secretary. #chsnews #scpol #scnews\u201d— Caitlin Byrd (@Caitlin Byrd) 1487429411
\u201cSecond part of question was, how can Scott expect folks to support him if they don't listen.(His office was flooded w/ calls) #chsnews\u201d— Caitlin Byrd (@Caitlin Byrd) 1487429474
\u201cTeacher stands up, voice shaking, "You never ONCE came to my school and asked me what I thought!" #chsnews #scpol #scnews\u201d— Caitlin Byrd (@Caitlin Byrd) 1487429503
And BuzzFeed provided video:
In Wisconsin, Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan's also drew a sizable crowd of over 300 people, according to one local news reporter. Pocan appeared pleased with the turnout, writing on Twitter: "This is what the resistance looks like."
\u201cOver 300 people here at Rep. Mark Pocan's Town Hall in Madison. People are sitting on the floor and out in the halls. #NBC15\u201d— Morgan Wolfe (@Morgan Wolfe) 1487434947
Follow #ResistanceRecess and #ReclaimRecess for more over the course of the week:
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