Rubio skips town halls: Paid activists will just ‘heckle and scream at me’

Rachel Stoltzfoos, DCNF

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio opted not to host a town hall when he returned to his Florida district last week, because he said paid activists would “heckle and scream” at him.

“They are not town halls anymore,” Rubio told a local CBS outlet Sunday. “What these groups really want is for me to schedule a public forum, they then organize three, four, five, six hundred liberal activists in the two counties or wherever I am in the state.”

Rubio said he was tipped off by a guide for protesters published by the new Indivisible movement, and he saw no point in hosting a big show for liberal activists who want to “heckle and scream at me in front of cameras.”

The group instructed protesters to show up at the town hall early and take up all the prominent seats in the front row. “They spread themselves out. They ask questions. They all cheer when the questions are asked. They are instructed to boo no matter what answer I give. They are instructed to interrupt me if I go too long and start chanting things. Then, at the end, they are also told not to give up their microphone when they ask questions.”

The media has focused heavily on the town halls conservative lawmakers did hold, churning out headline after headline about “angry voters” confronting their representatives and senators, especially with concerns about the future of Obamacare.

Some GOP lawmakers made a point of telling the press the crowds they faced were not manufactured, but represented real voters with true concerns. “This wasn’t an artificial crowd,” Republican Rep. Mark Sanford previously told CNN. “It wasn’t manufactured. It was real people with real concerns in terms of what came next on healthcare.”

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