ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer wants to hear from his constituents at town hall event in his district later Wednesday, but he’ll end the meeting early if there are disruptions or threats, his chief of staff said.
A month into President Donald Trump’s administration, Republican members of Congress are returning to their home districts to find crowds of anxious and, at times, angry voters, pressing for explanations the president’s plans for health care, immigration policies, cabinet appointees and more.
Democratic-leaning groups and individual voters have been pressing Minnesota’s three Republican congressmen since Trump took office to meet in-person with their constituents, but Emmer is the only one who has scheduled such an event. The other two, newly elected Rep. Jason Lewis and Rep. Erik Paulsen, apparently hosted recent conference calls with their constituents.
Emmer is bracing for backlash at Wednesday’s event, which offers an interesting test, as he represents the state’s most conservative congressional district and was by far the most vocal Trump supporter among Minnesota’s three congressional Republicans.
His chief of staff, David FitzSimmons, issued a news release warning that any “disruptive display, or if there are any violent actions or threats” would abruptly end the town hall meeting.
“Unfortunately, reports about town halls across this country over the past few weeks have been troubling. What should be an open and respectful forum to discuss ideas and opinions have often turned into shouting, chanting, and other disruptive behavior, from which no one benefits,” FitzSimmons wrote.
On the Democratic side, St. Paul-area Rep. Betty McCollum is hosting two town halls this week and held two last month, and a spokeswoman for Rep. Rick Nolan said he had several public events planned for this weekend.
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