Sorry, Mr. President, There's Nothing "So-Called" About These Angry Crowds
'We are not stupid,' town hall attendee tells Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) after she defends Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. 'Stop this.'
But reports from Tuesday's home district events clearly demonstrated that there's nothing "so-called" about people's anger toward Trump and the lawmakers who are enabling his right-wing agenda.
More than 1,000 protesters greeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) outside a local chamber of commerce luncheon on Tuesday afternoon, promising to follow him wherever he goes this week.
Inside the forum, one woman blasted McConnell over jobs and healthcare—and got in a jab over the senator's recent treatment of colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) while she was at it.
"The last I heard, these coal jobs are not coming back and now these people don't have the insurance they need 'cause they're poor," the woman shouted. "And they worked those coal mines and...they're not getting what they need. If you can answer any of that, I'll sit down and shut up like Elizabeth Warren."
Angry constituent gives Mitch McConnell the what for pic.twitter.com/tyHseJVtqd
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 21, 2017
In Tennessee, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn faced roughly 130 pre-screened town hall attendees at Fairview City Hall, while at least 150 held an alternative gathering outside. Inside, constituents booed Blackburn over everything from Trump's cabinet appointees to his recent executive orders on immigration.
The Huffington Post reported:
A Franklin High School senior expressed concern about the abilities of newly confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
"I think Miss DeVos is going to be a fine secretary," Blackburn said to loud boos from the crowd. "She's going to do a fine job."
"We are not stupid," someone in the crowd fired back. "Stop this."
After the meeting, Blackburn refused to take questions from those outside.
— IndivisibleMiddleTN (@TNIndivisible) February 21, 2017
Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), who lamented in late-January that female constituents were "in my grill no matter where I go" due to his stance on the Affordable Care Act, faced many such women (and others) at what the Washington Post described as "a raucous public event Tuesday night."
The Post reported:
For a little more than an hour, Brat was heckled nonstop as he fielded questions on healthcare, President Trump's policies and the border wall.
His answers seemed to antagonize most in the crowd of 150, who yelled back at him, at points drowning him out and prompting a few of his supporters to leave early in disgust.
Some of the loudest jeers came over Republicans’ promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as people held up red cards signaling their discontent.
According to Toronto Star journalist Daniel Dale on Twitter, "the most popular sign" of the evening was one that addressed both Brat's "in my grill" remark and the charge that members of the resistance are "paid protesters"—as Trump himself seemed to suggest in his tweet.
The most popular sign at the Dave Brat town hall. pic.twitter.com/PcIdm0M5Pk
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 21, 2017
Other moments from Tuesday evening's town halls were captured on social media:
At a town hall in in Colorado, citizens hold up their state IDs to prove to GOP that they are 100% real constituents pic.twitter.com/t2ABatcfJ4
— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) February 22, 2017
— WTOC Sean Evans (@WTOCSeanEvans) February 21, 2017
— Little Chiron Black (@SirLeonOfRudd) February 21, 2017
Meanwhile, many Republicans (and some Democrats) continue to duck hometown meetings—and to get grief about it from voters, many of whom held mock town halls with their representatives in absentia.
Town hall scenes from Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Maryland tonight, where voters showed up but GOP congressmen were no-shows. pic.twitter.com/qfNRnNASlI
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) February 22, 2017
Follow the action under #ResistanceRecess and #ReclaimRecess online: