Liberal groups generate hometown protests to intimidate Republicans on health care.
On Tuesday, House Republicans held a closed-door meeting to discuss strategies to protect themselves and their staffs from violent leftists “protesting” their offices and town halls as a result of repealing Obamacare.
House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers met with Rep. David Reichert (R-Wash.), a former county sheriff, to discuss methods and tools should a violent protest occur.
“If you look at what the Left is doing, they can endanger your constituents or your staff.”
Reichert suggested that having a physical exit strategy at town halls, or a backdoor in congressional offices to slip out of, would be a great first step. He also indicated that having local police departments monitor town halls as well as replacing any glass office-door entrances with heavy doors and deadbolts is something else they should consider, according to a Politico report.
Last weekend, conservative Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) was ambushed at a town hall by “protesters” and was escorted out by a half-dozen police officers. Just a few days after that altercation, Republicans leaving their conference were ambushed by more than 100 protesters at Rep. Martha McSally’s Arizona congressional office, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
House Republicans have been forced to take extreme caution in lieu of these violent attacks across the country. “Protesters” have organized efforts in major cities and continue to carry out violence against issues they do not agree with.
Aside from the ambushes of members of Congress, conservative or provocative populist speakers have been targeted with protests often tied to large, leftist organizations.
The riot against Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopoulos at University of California, Berkeley on Feb. 2 was allegedly funded by George Soros. The group, Refuse Fascism, received $50,000 from a group backed by Soros, according to The Daily Caller.
The following day, another violent protest broke out at NYU against conservative speaker Gavin McInnes. Nearly a dozen were arrested as McInnes was forced to exit the building from the back and leave the premises.
Democrats have dismissed claims that House members and other conservatives are being forced to beef up security. Democrats claim that Republicans are using this as an attempt to shield themselves from criticism.
“I think what you’re seeing is Republicans trying to use security to try to hide themselves from their constituents because they have no plan for a replacement and very little support from Donald Trump,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). “They’re going to use so-called security to keep people away.”
But the potential for violence has gotten so serious that the House sergeant-at-arms has requested that congressional offices notify the office of any possible threats, according to Politico.
Last week, McMorris Rodgers organized a group of lawmakers, including Reichert, to make a plan should an uprising occur at one of their offices. Rodgers — who during an early January speech was flooded out of his office by protesters shouting “Save our care!” — asked Reichert to give out advice to full conference.
Reichert also indicated he instructed lawmakers to, “make sure you have a back door in your office if there is some sort of danger.”
“It’s not that you run from protesters, but if someone presents some sort of physical threat or are espousing a verbal threat that could lead to a physical threat, if you feel that you’re in danger and your staff is in danger, call 911 and leave and go out the back door,” he said.
The presentation was particularly important, given that top congressional officials are beginning to fear for their safety in their own offices.