Outsourced protests bring ‘threat of violence’ to GOP town halls

by WorldTribune Staff, February 23, 2017

Organized leftist protesters who are “bent on dividing the nation” are engaging in “political thuggery” and sabotaging Republican town hall events, GOP congressmen say.

Thousands of leftists, as part of a nationwide “storm-the-town-halls” strategy, organized by groups like the George Soros-funded MoveOn.org, are creating media buzz as they shout down lawmakers at the GOP town halls, Valerie Richardson reported for The Washington Times on Feb. 22.

Roseville police escort Republican congressman Tom McClintock from a packed town hall meeting on Feb. 4. /The Sacramento Bee

Related: Obama network’s organizing manual targets Republicans nationwide, even in safe districts, February 19, 2017

Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and other Republicans are opting during the congressional recess for town halls conducted by phone, at least “until the threat of violence at town hall meetings recedes,” he said.

“Unfortunately, at this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety,” Gohmert said in a letter to his constituents.

“The concerns are more than hypothetical,” Richardson’s report said, noting that the 71-year-old district director for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, “hit her head, fainted and was hospitalized” Feb. 14 after activists with Indivisible, a new protest group, tried to force open the office door. A 2-year-old girl was also knocked down in the tussle.

Furious, Rohrabacher blasted the protesters as “part of a nationwide, anti-Trump mobilization” who are “engaged in political thuggery, pure and simple.”

“In fact, they are bent on dividing the nation, defying the will of voters and undermining the legitimacy of the election,” he said in a statement. “These holier-than-thou obstructionists will be held responsible for this outrageous assault. They are exposing themselves for what they are — enemies of American self-government and democracy.”

Many on the Left are justifying the actions at the town halls buy saying it is payback for years of fired-up tea party crowds protesting former President Barack Obama’s signature initiative, the Affordable Care Act.

“These town hall victories are proof that our growing grass roots movement has all the momentum — and it’s forcing our elected representatives and the media to come to terms with the strength of the opposition to Donald Trump in this country,” said Democracy for America in a fundraising plea.

The newly formed Town Hall Project, which calls itself both nonpartisan and progressive, lists all Democratic and Republican town hall events on its website.

“It’s safe to say most of our team are motivated by a desire to fight the Trump agenda,” said project spokesman Nathan Williams.

Trump has dismissed the town hall protests as the work of professional operatives. In a tweet, the president said the “so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!”

Other Republicans have accused the protest network of importing activists from outside the congressional district and even outside the state.

Many of the leftists deny the allegations of professionalism by holding up their driver’s licenses showing their address, along with signs with messages like “I get paid zip” and chanting “We are not paid!”, Richardson’s report said.

Rep. Tom McClintock, California Republican, has held more than 100 town halls, but received two weeks ago his first police escort at the insistence of the Roseville Police Department.

“The vast majority of the people attempting to attend the meeting were peaceful, decent and law-abiding folks sincerely opposed to President Trump, wanting to make their views known to their elected representative,” McClintock said in a floor speech. “But there was also a well-organized element that came to disrupt — and disrupt they did.”

McClintock went forward with another town hall on Feb. 21 in Mariposa, where the crowd was still mostly anti-Trump but less rowdy. The worst part? Afterward, The Fresno Bee reported that four vehicles were found with slashed tires.

A crowd of more than 1,000 drowned out Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, at a Feb. 9 appearance in Cottonwood Heights.

“They’re welcome to come yell and scream,” Chaffetz told Fox Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends” show. “I thought it was a bit over the top. I thought it was intended to bully and intimidate. But the last four elections in Utah in a row I’ve won by the widest margin of anybody playing at this level.”