The irony is just too rich on this one.
A few days short of the anniversary of his assault on a reporter for having had the temerity to ask a question, Congressman Greg Gianforte is telling Montana voters that he won’t have public meetings with constituents because he “is a United States Congressperson and won’t be having public meetings because it’s a security risk.”
That’s what a constituent calling Gianforte’s office was told Monday when she called to ask for information about when a town hall meeting might be held in the Missoula area. Though the earnest staffer at Gianforte’s office politely informed the constituent that Gianforte comes home to Montana every weekend, he refused to provide details about when and where he would meet with constituents.
When pressed for an answer about a town hall meeting, the staffer put the caller on hold, presumably to check with a superior, before returning with the news that potential security threats prevented Gianforte from holding pre-announced and public meetings.
This is the Republican playbook today. Whether it’s EPA head Scott Pruitt concocting bogus stories about security risks to justify flying first class or a Congressman in one of the safest states in the country acting like he’s too chicken shit afraid to meet with the people he pretends to represent, Republicans are making it clear that they have no interest in the concerns or opinions of the ordinary people who should be at the heart of our democratic decision-making and they have abandoned the ideal that government works best when those who represent us listen to us.
I get why Gianforte doesn’t want to meet with real Montanans and prefers pre-arranged photo ops with handpicked audiences. He’s never shown anything but contempt for the people of this state and he’s demonstrated that he can’t be trusted to not assault somebody who has the gall to ask him a question.
The threat here isn’t to Greg Gianforte’s security; it’s to our representative democracy. Shouldn’t Montanans choose a Congressional representative who is willing to engage, discuss, and debate with people with whom s/he might have disagreements?
Let’s keep Congressman Gianforte—and the members of the media—safe. Let’s retire him this November.