Several Republican representatives have recently hosted town hall meetings in their respective districts, only to have anti-Trump protesters crash the event by raising an unnecessary, uncivilized ruckus to spread strife.
We thought such rabble-rousing was isolated, but it appears that there is a rather coordinated effort to spread anti-Trump rhetoric and disruption at as many events as possible. Yes, that includes events that have nothing to do with the President, like Congressional town hall meetings. And yes, it happened again.
Scott Taylor is a freshman representative for Virginia’s Second Congressional district, which includes notable tourist destination Virginia Beach. It was in the Beach that he hosted the first of three town hall meetings in as many days in the district.
The town hall was hosted at a local high school, and as many as 800 people showed up to attend. Many had to be turned away at the door because the auditorium was full, according to the local paper The Virginian Pilot.
In comments before the hearing and in their reactions to the lawmaker, most of the audience was not happy with the Trump administration.
Taylor and some questioners were frequently interrupted with shouts from the audience or occasional chants of “answer the question” or “do your job.” Those outside waved anti-Trump banners and shouted opposing comments.
Inside, Taylor – without appearing testy – was constantly attempting to tamp down the shouts as he fielded questions from those called on by a moderator.
“Come on guys. We all live here,” he said repeatedly.
While there was plenty of disruption inside the auditorium, there was also plenty of protesting against Trump outside the high school.
According to WAVY TV 10, there were hundreds of boisterous protesters chanting against the administration, trying to stir up trouble wherever possible.
— Sifiya (@Sifiya_Fiya) February 21, 2017
Scott Taylor town hall. This is the overflow crowd. pic.twitter.com/NArmrJoEEg
— callmestingray (@callmestingray) February 21, 2017
(Mind you, this was not a town hall for or about Trump. Yet the crowd could not control themselves but descend into Trump protestations.)
Scott Taylor town hall. These were the folks who couldn't get in. pic.twitter.com/GjtLGHzCx3
— callmestingray (@callmestingray) February 21, 2017
Virginia Beach town hall packed waiting to protest GOP congressman Scott Taylor. Payback is a bitch. Move over #TeaParty
— Left Of Main Street (@LeftOfMainSt) February 21, 2017
— Kathy Martin (@kmartin17) February 21, 2017
One woman reported that someone asking a question had the microphone taken away from her while she was speaking. It is not known who the person was, though.
Wow… mic taken away from woman trying to speak to her representative at the Scott Taylor Town Hall tonight. 😡#DemocracyInAction
— Michelle Chrzanowski (@mlchrzanowski) February 21, 2017
Chants of “indivisible!” can be heard in WAVY’s video coverage.
“Indivisible” is a part of the “resistance” movement against the President.
Part of their “resistance” includes 5 calls, and 5 minutes of resistance (whatever that means).
According to local ABC affiliate 13 News Now, some attendees even brought signs, green and red, to show during the Q&A period.
Some of the exchanges were rather feisty.
Despite the protestations, Taylor stood his ground on the issues of abortion, immigration, health care, and climate change, according to the Pilot.
Specifically on the issue of climate change, leftist attendees tried to stir the pot with their questions, and ruckus-raising after such questions.
When asked if he “agrees with President Trump that climate change is a Chinese conspiracy,” Taylor said climate change is happening but drew catcalls when he argued there are questions about how much is caused by man.
“Let’s be civil, man. Let’s not be rude,” Taylor said, adding, “There are the questions about what man can do about it. … I do believe we have a duty to be good stewards of our environment.”
At the event, the Virginia Beach Police Department did a good job in keeping order, though there were times when the crowd got rowdy. I called VBPD to ask about any arrests that were made, but as of the time of this publication there have been none. A report was filed for assault, but no reported action on that as of now.
Outside the high school, one woman screamed at VBPD to “do your f***** job!”
(The video footage has unfortunately been removed as of the time of publication. I apologize for the inconvenience.)
One Facebook user who commented on the video, posted in the group Virginia Beach Republicans, stated that she was “So glad! My son Scott was there, and he was verbally abused for being a gay Trump supporter. He said the protesters were spitting on Trump supporters, too. Guess that’s a page out of Obama’s training manual for his protesters.”
While I was unable to attend the town hall, a friend of mine did attend, and he provided me some information on what happened as an eye witness.
• There was a diverse crowd there with diverse opinions, and they all wanted their opinions known. There were some in the crowd that appreciated his invitation to welcome people “to the table” of discussion. However, these people were drowned out by the rancor of his critics.
• The Virginian Pilot underestimated the numbers. There were easily 1000 people who were outside after the event started
• Scott Taylor was very professional and calm in a rather hostile environment. People would continuously interrupt him as he answered the questions of the audience.
• Most of the questions surrounded Donald Trump, his policies, and keeping him in check.
• There were two things that stood out to a puzzling degree. The first was whenever Mr. Taylor tried to engage in a nuanced discussion of a topic. He was booed and shouted down when he tried to give a thoughtful answer on a question. Secondly, he was booed at when he suggested that the constituents had just as much a right to hold the president in check as himself. They would shout at him and some even yelled, “no you do!”
Taylor will be hosting more town halls in the Second District, one in Yorktown on the most southern peninsula (which happened last night with little disruption), and one on the Eastern Shore.