Speaker Paul Ryan Cancels Public Town Hall Meetings, And His Reason Is Pissing Everyone Off


WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22:  U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) listens to questions during his weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol June 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Ryan answered a range of questions but declined to comment on the contents of the health care plan being presented by senate Republicans.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is looking for “new and creative ways” for representatives of Congress to interact with their constituents going forward instead of holding open town hall meetings.

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Notice how we said, “instead of.” That’s right. Paul Ryan wants to get rid of public forums altogether. His reasoning? He doesn’t like protesters at the event.

“Aside from the obvious security concerns, what we have found is there are people who are trying to come in from out of the district to disrupt town hall meetings and not have a civil discussion, so what I have been doing is looking for new and creative ways to interact with my constituents in a civil way,” Ryan said.

There’s only one problem with this: public town halls are a way for average, ordinary people to meet their elected representatives face to face. If Ryan has any particular concerns at town halls, certainly there are other ways to address them rather than canceling the events entirely.

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One proposal of Ryan’s is to have “telephone” sessions. He thinks this will be just as constructive.

“I have done a number of telephone town hall meetings, which I find very effective as people don’t have to travel. I do office hours. I just did them this morning in Janesville. In addition, I am doing a lot of business ones,” he said.

Recently, Ryan held a town hall-style meeting in his home district and closed it off to the public. He only answered questions that had been prepared in advance. He also said that people “clam up” when the media is present, so that’s another reason he’d rather not have them attend.

“Business town halls without media is very interactive, so I am finding a lot of different ways to have a good civil dialogue with constituents.”

One major reason Ryan might be shying away from the public forums is due to the sheer amount of scrutiny Republicans are receiving right now for their proposed health care bill. Even Republican voters are lashing out against the legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that’s completely understandable. It proposes to cut Medicaid substantially – and many of the people who voted Ryan and the GOP rely on it.

It’s simply easier to not have to face angry voters, and instead, find a “new and creative” solution to saving face. After all, in the world that we live in today with Youtube and Twitter, no one wants to show up all over the internet being called out on their b.s.

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