The people of California’s 1st Congressional District made their congressman see red Monday morning.
Like other Republican lawmakers before him, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (Calif.) held a town hall on the ongoing health-care debate and the effort, led by President Trump and the GOP, to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
And like some of his colleagues, LaMalfa was met with boos, catcalls and verbal barbs shouted from the 400-person-strong audience at the Chico Elks Lodge in Northern California, recorded on video and audio by North State Public Radio.
It was the most recent of a declining number of health-care-focused town hall meetings charged by emotional pleas and debates between constituents and their representatives, meetings that have sparked anxiety among GOP lawmakers heading home to face tough questions.
The audience was armed with blunt questions, harsh comments and red placards they used to signal their disapproval of audience queries or LaMalfa’s responses. Green cards were used to show approval.
Out of a sea of moments threatening to boil over, one stood out as particularly tense.
“I think that your vote to throw 22 million people off of health care is reprehensible and in the service of the rich,” a resident told LaMalfa on his efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
“I hope you suffer the same painful fate as those millions that you have voted to remove health care from. May you die in pain,” he added.
The comments drew a stream of groans from the audience in a rare moment of sympathy for LaMalfa.
“We pray for our constituents, too, sir,” LaMalfa, who took office in 2013, quickly countered.
“I think things went about as well as could be expected, given the high emotions in our country at present,” Williams said, calling the town hall a “largely cordial and productive conversation.”
Monday’s meeting might be a test case in how to manage a crowd. As the audience appeared to get agitated during LaMalfa’s meandering explanation of Medicaid costs, he stopped to address the civility of the participants.
“I’ve got the mic, folks, okay? If we want to have a positive interaction, if you want to do any more of these, then we need to have –” LaMalfa said, before being cut off by boos, hisses and laughter among audience members who appeared to take his tone as a condescending lecture. Scores of red cards waved back and forth.
Full story at Washington Post.