Inside a NJ Republican’s furious town hall

FLANDERS, N.J. — After the embarrassing collapse of their ObamaCare repeal bill, most House Republicans are steering clear of town halls over the two-week April recess.

Not Rep. Leonard Lance.

The unassuming, moderate New Jersey Republican walked into the lion’s den Wednesday night — the third town hall he’s held in his bucolic congressional district since President took office.

Flanked on stage by two police officers, Lance was greeted with boos, jeers and hisses. People in the crowd held up signs of a red thumbs-down when they disagreed. And he was repeatedly heckled and interrupted as he struggled to finish answering constituents’ questions.On at least two occasions, he was drowned out by standing ovations for speakers urging Lance to fight climate change and GOP healthcare plans.

“We’re voting you out next year!” one man yelled at Lance as cheers erupted in the room.

Addressing his constituent’s “catcall,” Lance replied that “2017 should be a year of governance, not politics.”

But for many of the nearly 400 people who packed Mount Olive High School’s performing arts theater on Wednesday, emotions from the bitter 2016 presidential race are still raw.

Several attendees told The Hill that frustration, anger, even disbelief that Trump now occupies the White House motivated them to turn out at Lance’s town hall.

“A lot of it is Donald Trump, because I believe Trump ran on fear and he ran on hate. That’s how he became the president and that scares the crap out of me,” said a man who only wanted to be identified as Chris, a counselor who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the election.

 

 

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