Iowa Republican Congressman Rod Blum had a terrrrrible day yesterday—and he deserved every minute of it. As one of the Freedom Caucus members who helped pass the Trumpcare bill that will kick millions off their insurance, cripple Medicare, raise rates for seniors, limit preexisting conditions, and defund Planned Parenthood, Blum also happens to represent a district that narrowly voted for Donald Trump—who lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes— which puts Blum in an extremely precarious position politically.
And all of it came to a head yesterday when the congressman first stormed out of a TV interview when asked why he instructed his staff to prescreen constituents who were planning to attend his town hall. From the Washington Post:
The reporter, Josh Scheinblum, asked Blum about his decision to hold four town hall meetings this week across Iowa’s 1st Congressional District and why his staff was prescreening attendees to ensure they actually lived within the district’s boundaries.
“Some would make the case that you represent all Iowans … shouldn’t all Iowans have a voice at the table or at least have the option to?” Scheinblum asked.
“I don’t represent all Iowans — I represent the First District of Iowa,” Blum said. “That would be like saying, ‘Shouldn’t I be able to, even though I live in Dubuque, be able to go vote in Iowa City during the election because I’d like to vote in that district instead?’”
“Would you still take donations from a Republican in Iowa City?” Scheinblum asked.
Blum smiled, stood up and removed his microphone.
“This is ridiculous. This is ridiculous. He’s just going to sit here and badger me,” Blum said as he walked away.
Watch the interview here. Now if the night had ended then and there, it would have been bad enough. But that's when things got WORSE.
If Blum was expecting a friendlier response from his prescreened audience, he was sadly mistaken because most of the crowd spent the evening screaming at him. More from WaPo:
“This bill, Trumpcare — whatever you want to call it — is about the individual market only,” he said. “That’s 12,000 people in my district. Twelve thousand people in my district. So if you’re in the group health insurance program through your employers, if you’re getting your insurance through the group health insurance, nothing changes.”
“That’s not true! That’s not true!” people screamed from the bleachers, waving the red sheets.
“If you’re getting your insurance through Medicare, nothing’s going to change. Nothing’s going to change,” Blum said. “If you’re currently getting your health insurance through Medicaid nothing’s going to –”
The crowd drowned him out as he finished his sentence.
One woman complained that “You voted on this bill in a rush — there were no committee hearings. This pertains to my life. This is not democracy works and you know that. … What was the rush?”
“We did hold hearings,” Blum told her. “I always said the process was bad. It was rushed. It was rushed and there should have been hearings. And we should have had an open amendment process, which we should have. And I was highly verbal about that. I told the president the very same thing — that we should not rush this, we should try to make it bipartisan and try to get Democrats on board.”
More red sheets. More boos.
Read the entire article here, it is glorious. Oh, and as badly as everything went at least one person at Blum's TV interview was having a good time.
A GOP Rep abruptly ended an interview when he was asked a question he didn't like –– but this kid didn't mind https://t.co/SfunfQZ9fK pic.twitter.com/joB15r0wI6
— Hayley Jones (@meetmissjoness) May 9, 2017