PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As citizens across the nation demand that members of Congress hold public town hall meetings, some Republican lawmakers have shot back against the idea.
“There is an organized effort to disrupt these town halls,” U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, a Sewickley Republican told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
“There’s actually a website where you can look, all these strategy points. You question how constructive that is.”
“They’re paid people and they’re meant not to have a dialogue,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, an Upper St. Clair Republican. “But specifically in their guide it’s meant to disrupt and prevent people from talking.”
Both Murphy and Rothfus cite a website called IndivisibleGuide.com with advice written by former congressional staffers.
KDKA reached out to one of the authors, Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia.
Delano: “Are you encouraging people to disrupt town meetings?”
Martinez de Vedia: “We ask folks to stand firm and to demand answers but to do it in a way that is polite and in a manner that respects members of Congress and their staff.”
Martinez de Vedia says Indivisible is taking a page out of the conservative Tea Party movement of 2009 and 2010.
“What’s outlined in the guide is not original. It’s something we already saw back in 2009 with the rise of the Tea Party.”
The strategy is to create local Indivisible chapters to confront the Trump agenda and its Republican supporters in Congress.
The guidebook is spreading on social media.
“That’s actually what I am using,” says University of Pittsburgh Law School student Liz Dennis of Sewickley.
She says nobody is paying her to host a town hall meeting Friday night in Cranberry, and she says congressmen should read the guide book.
“I’ve actually read everything that is available on the Indivisible website, and I don’t believe that it calls for disruptive tactics.”