Congressman ends interview when asked about screening town hall attendees

Congressman ends interview when asked about screening town hall attendees
Posted at 10:19 AM, May 09, 2017

An Iowa congressman abruptly ended an interview moments after it started when pressed why he was requiring town hall attendees to prove they are his constituents.

"This is ridiculous," said Rod Blum, an Iowa Republican as he removed the microphone attached to his shirt, stood up and exited the room. "This is ridiculous."

Blum, who represents a competitive district in eastern Iowa, was seated in a classroom surrounded by grade-school children as he spoke in Dubuque with KCRG reporter Josh Scheinblum. As town halls grow chaotic across the country due to divisions over whether to replace Obamacare, Blum required attendees to "verify residency" at his Monday event by showing that they live in his district, according to a town hall Eventbrite page.

"Some would make the case that you represent all Iowans. The decisions that you make impact all Iowans. So shouldn't all Iowans have a voice at the table?" Scheinblum asked.

"I don't represent all Iowans," Blum said with a laugh. "I represent the 1st District of Iowa. That'd be like saying: 'Shouldn't I be able to -- even though I live in Dubuque -- go vote in Iowa City during the election because I'd like to vote in that district instead?'"

"Would you still take donations from a Republican in Iowa City?" the reporter asked.

That's when the congressman stood up.

"I'm done," he said, as Scheinblum begged him to stay in his seat. "You're just going to sit here and badger me."

"Congressman, come on, take a seat," Scheinblum replied, still seated.

"Unbelievable," Blum uttered, repeating Scheinblum's follow-up question in disbelief.

At the Dubuque town hall, some of the about 1,000 people in attendance repeatedly confronted Blum and pressed him over his recent vote for the House GOP plan to repeal Obamacare, according to KCRG. Blum was interrupted during his opening remarks as well.