Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head outside a Tucson supermarket where she was meeting with constituents in 2011, has an important message for the Republican members of Congress who are skipping town hall over fears of being yelled at by their constituents.
Over the last week, town halls across the country erupted in chaos and fury as attendees yelled at their representatives to do their jobs while the politicians attempted to convince them that President Donald Trump’s administration was just trying to “make America great again,” even if that means taking away the public’s basic health care rights.
Now, some lawmakers have decided to skip such events altogether — and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert is one of them.
Not only has he refused to attend town hall meetings, but he is also using Giffords’ shooting to justify it.
“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,” the Republican said. “Threats are nothing new to me and I have gotten my share as a felony judge. However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed — just as happened there.”
Louie Goehmert is scared to hold a townhall meeting citing what happened to Gabby Giffords, but votes to give mentally ill their gun rights? pic.twitter.com/c8eitPtX79— Harvey King of Shade (@bodysculptorokc) February 24, 2017
Giffords posted a perfect response on the website for Americans for Responsible Solutions — an anti-gun violence group she co-founded.
“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls,” she wrote.
In her powerful statement, the Democrat also noted how she did not let her shooting affect her work.
“I was shot on a Saturday morning. By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public. Ron Barber — at my side that Saturday, who was shot multiple times, then elected to Congress in my stead — held town halls. It’s what the people deserve in a representative,” Giffords' statement read. “In the past year, campaigning for gun safety, I have held over 50 public events.”
Twitter, unsurprisingly, erupted in applause over Giffords’ bravery.
I agree with Rep. Giffords - listening to constituents is the most basic tenet of our job. Her courage should inspire all my colleagues. https://t.co/FJZhKPETtf— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) February 23, 2017
Gabby Giffords is way more gangster than I ever hope I have to be.— dp3 (@dpalm66) February 23, 2017
Louie Gohmert voted to allow mentally ill to buy guns. He just said the reason Gabby Giffords got shot was because town halls are dangerous.— Emanuel Zbeda (@therealezway) February 23, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Hans pennink