Republicans holding town halls in the past week found themselves confronted by angry crowds, and one GOP lawmaker thinks he knows why.
Utah Rep. Rep. Jason Chaffetz believes the protesters were paid by the left to interrupt his event on Thursday.
Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, was greeted at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights Thursday by a jeering crowd that peppered him with a call to hold President Donald Trump accountable, in what appeared to be an organized effort to prevent him from speaking.
He told the Deseret News that it was “bullying and an attempt at intimidation” from the crowd.
“Absolutely. I know there were,” people who were brought in from outside his district to disrupt his town hall, he told the News, calling it “more of a paid attempt to bully and intimidate.”
“You could see it online a couple days before, a concerted effort in part to just cause chaos,” he said. “Democrats are in disbelief that they have nothing but flailing and screaming to deal with this.”
When the paper asked him who he thought might pay protesters to disrupt his meeting he instructed the News to “do some reporting.”
Chaffetz said one of the agitators made it a point to tell him that he was not paid by any leftist organization.
The Utah Republican was far from the only GOP lawmaker to face such a crowd.
Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis dealt with a similarly raucous crowd as he took on Obamacare on Saturday.
“Here’s the problem I have with the Affordable Care Act,” Pasco County GOP official Bill Akins told the crowd at Bilirakis’ event. “Number one, there is a provision in there that anyone over the age of 74 has to go before what is effectively a death panel.”
The audience erupted with shouts of “liar” and didn’t allow Akins to speak as they got louder and louder, prompting him to chastise them.
“OK, children. Alright, children,” he said, mocking them. But they didn’t let up.
It’s tough to believe these interruptions were not well-organized by the left when one looks at previous videos from Project Veritas that show an effort by liberal groups to organize and pay protesters to disrupt events held by President Trump when he was a candidate.
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