With GOP Reps in Hiding After Trumpcare Vote, Dems 'Adopt' Their Districts
"Maybe a Democrat ought to go into every district where a Republican who supported Trumpcare won't hold a town hall meeting and do it for them"
In the wake of the U.S. House's frightening vote to pass the GOP healthcare bill, Republican representatives seem to be hiding from constituents. Only 17 Republican members of the House—out of the 217 who voted for the law—are planning to hold town halls in their home districts during the Congressional recess.
And so Democrats are tapping into voter outrage and highlighting their opponents' cowardice with an "adopt a district" plan to hold town halls in neighboring districts, where GOP representatives aren't planning to meet with their own constituents.
"Every Republican who voted for this thing ought to have to stand in front of their voters and explain it," Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York's 18th district told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. "And if it takes a Democrat to go in and do it for them for a while, I'll explain what's in this bill, and if he doesn't like it, he should stand up and explain it himself."
Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.), who represents New York's 19th district, had unplugged his office phones and refused to plan a public event to explain his vote for Trumpcare, Salon reported.
Maloney proceeded to "adopt" Faso's district, holding a well-attended town hall on Monday:
— James G. Cobb (@NYCjamescobb) May 8, 2017
Local newspaper the Register-Star reported that Faso's constituents broke out into chants of "thank you, thank you" when Maloney entered the room to speak.
In Arizona, Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego followed Maloney's example by holding a town hall Tuesday in GOP Rep. Martha McSally's district.
"McSally put satisfying Donald Trump's ego over the health and welfare of 24 million Americans," read the invitation for the event, hosted by the Arizona Democratic Party, according to the Arizona Daily Star. "That’s why we’re heading to her district with Congressman Gallego on Tuesday to rally Democrats to stop Trumpcare."
During the town hall, Gallego called Trumpcare's tax cut for the wealthy "one of the sickest most perverse moves that I have seen in my time in politics," reported Mother Jones' Tim Murphy.
"I wish Martha McSally was here to answer your questions about why she was so anxious to vote for this and get this bleeping thing done," Gallego told McSally's constituents, according to Murphy.
Gallego invited McSally to the town hall in her district, but the GOP representative did not respond.
And at Monday's town hall in New York, Maloney sat on stage next to an empty stool with Faso's name on it.
"If at any time the current congressman wants to come here and do his job, well, I will pack up and I will leave," Maloney said, according to the Register-Star. "If he walks in right now, I will hand him this microphone and I will go home. That's how it should be. But until he is here to answer these questions, I am going to be here answering these questions. Let him stand on his own two feet and explain this vote to you."
Such "adopt a district" events are likely to expand in coming weeks, with the Indivisible group releasing a guide to such events on Wednesday.
Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), told the New Republic that about 20 members of the CPC are planning their own "adopt a district" events in neighboring Republican districts. Pocan himself is planning to adopt House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) district.
"If you had 20 people doing it in 20 districts across the country, that would be national news," Pocan said.
Follow along with the "adopt a district" town halls under the hashtag #AdoptADistrict: