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"This is what the resistance looks like," Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan wrote Saturday on Twitter. (Photo: Rep. Mark Pocan/Twitter)

"This is what the resistance looks like," Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan wrote Saturday on Twitter. (Photo: Rep. Mark Pocan/Twitter)

Lawmakers Feel the Heat as Resistance Shows Up in Droves to Town Halls

Overflow crowds and tough questions marked Saturday's Congressional recess events around the country

Deirdre Fulton

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 News reported 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. 

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 Times set 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:

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." 

Follow #ResistanceRecess and #ReclaimRecess for more over the course of the week:


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