Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
Republican members of Congress — at least, those who deigned to show up — faced angry constituents in district town hall meetings across the country Tuesday. Many of the meetings drew overflow crowds filled with local residents who turned out specifically to voice anger over GOP threats to Obamacare. Tuesday morning, Donald Trump took to Twitter to dismiss those voters with the latest conservative myth: That any constituent who voices dissent is a “paid protester,” a liberal plant from out of town.
Like all of Trump’s lies, the strategy is obviously to repeat this talking point until it becomes the accepted wisdom of his base — or, perhaps, until fed-up constituents vote these spineless GOP sycophants out of office.
Here’s a look at some of the justifiably angry and organized masses that turned out just last night.
1. At a luncheon meeting in his home state of Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was roasted by a woman voter who questioned him on coal jobs and the Obamacare repeal. “If you can answer any of that, I’ll sit down and shut up like Elizabeth Warren,” the constituent said at the end of her speech, referencing the now infamous incident that occurred on the Senate floor earlier this month.
2. Iowa’s Chuck Grassley was challenged by two constituents. An Afghan man, who worked as an interpreter with the U.S. military, questioned what would be done to aid him as the Trump administration rolls out its unconstitutional Muslim ban. “Who will save me?” he asked the senator.
And a local farmer revived the Republican myth of Obamacare “death panels” to drive home how lives would be imperiled by an ACA repeal.
3. In Colorado, constituents held an “in absentia town hall” for legislators who were no-shows. Already familiar with the lie Trump again repeated the morning before, they kicked off the session by holding up their Colorado drivers’ licenses to prove they’re local residents.
4. Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey avoided his constituents altogether, but they went ahead with a town hall anyway. It featured an empty suit in Toomey’s place, to which constituents directed their questions.
5. Here’s a crowd angrily booing Senator Joni Ernst after she cravenly ducked out of a meeting with constituents from Maquoketa, Iowa after just 45 minutes.
The crowd jeers and chants after Joni Ernst ends her forum after only 45 minutes, few questions pic.twitter.com/aHrcbPMxv2
— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) February 21, 2017
6. Dave Brat of Virginia did his job and held a second consecutive night of town hall meetings Tuesday, but not without a chorus of criticism.
Here’s a good example of the rowdiness/frustration at Rep. Dave Brat’s town hall tonight. He took over 30 Qs, got lots of pushback. pic.twitter.com/L3kHyDUNKw
— Ashley Killough (@KilloughCNN) February 22, 2017
7. Watch this Arkansas crowd’s reaction to Steve Womack’s ridiculous answer about an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. Bonus point to the constituent who yells, “You guys wasted a lot of money on Benghazi—waste a little on Trump.”
Crowd asks Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) to investigate Trump/Russia.
Wait for it… pic.twitter.com/4siV7A0cOR
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 22, 2017
Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.