Former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona urged members of Congress to host town hall meetings after Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert citing her shooting as a reason he was not going to schedule one.
“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage,” Giffords said in a statement. “Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”
Across the country, Republicans are facing hostile crowds of voters expressing displeasure over plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The White House has responded to these protests by saying the protesters are paid, without providing any evidence.
Gohmert released a statement Tuesday, saying he was confident all of his constituents know where he stands on the issues and why.
“Unfortunately, at this time, there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety,” Gohmert said.
The Texas congressman added that although threats are nothing new to him as he received them as a judge, he expressed concern that civilian attendees are most likely to be harmed or killed in a public appearance. Six people were killed and 19 were shot during the 2011 shooting targeting Giffords.
“Town halls and countless constituent meetings were a hallmark of my tenure in Congress,” Giffords said. “It’s how I was able to serve the people of southern Arizona. I believed that listening to my constituents was the most basic and core tenant of the job I was hired to do.”
She added that she has held more than 50 public events over the past year as she has been campaigning in favor of gun control.
“Many of the members of Congress who are refusing to hold town halls and listen to their constituents’ concerns are the very same politicians that have opposed common-sense gun violence prevention policies and have allowed the Washington gun lobby to threaten the safety of law enforcement and everyday citizens in our schools, businesses, places of worship, airports, and movie theaters,” she said.