Congress is currently in recess, so the left-wing is taking advantage by taking over town halls and local meetings with Republican members of Congress in attempts to pressure them into opposing President Donald Trump, especially on repealing Obamacare. Trump lashed out at these protests:
The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2017
Where are these protests stemming from and what are the details of their actions?
Here are seven things you need to know about them.
1. The roots of these protests can be traced to a George Soros-funded organization called Indivisible Guide. In his February 13 LevinTV episode, Mark Levin highlighted the organization's video that essentially provides a guide on how to cause chaos at town halls as a means of opposing Trump:
Levin also pointed to a Daily Signal piece that exposed how three of the main people involved with Indivisible Guide have ties to Soros:
Ezra Levin, a former staffer for Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, and his wife, Leah Greenberg, are the president and vice president of the Indivisible Guide’s board, respectively.
Levin is also associate director of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, an anti-poverty nonprofit. Melissa Bradley, who sits on that group’s board, previously worked for Green for All, a group founded by liberal commentator and former Obama administration official Van Jones. She was appointed as a Soros Justice Fellow through the Open Society Foundations, which Soros founded.
Greenberg previously worked for Humanity United, which is funded by Soros’ Open Society Institute.
The secretary of Indivisible Guide, Angel Padilla, works for the National Immigration Law Center, which is funded by Soros through his Open Society Foundations. And treasurer Matt Traidi is the research team director for the Service Employees International Union, a major donor to and endorser of Democrat politicians, Capital Research Center notes.
The Daily Signal also noted that the Soros-connected group has gloated about disrupting "town halls held by Republican lawmakers in Utah, California, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, and Nebraska."
"What you have here are left-wing members of, or former members of Congress and their staffs, and leftists who worked for George Soros, who still work for George Soros, who are instigating this, who are promoting this or motivating this," Levin said. "That's not a grassroots effort."
2. Barack Obama is also connected to these protests. Levin cited an op-ed by Paul Sperry in the New York Post noting that after the election, Obama rallied the troops at his Organizing For Action (OFA) organization, telling them in a conference call, "Now is the time for some organizing. So don't mope." Since then, not only has OFA been behind a number of anti-Trump marches and ramped up their organizational efforts to defend Obama's legacy, they have provided a guide for the anti-Trump left on how to disrupt congressional Republican town halls. Sperry explains in a February 18 op-ed: (emphasis bolded)
The manual, published with OFA partner “Indivisible,” advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.” Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. “This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.” It also urges them to ask “hostile” questions — while keeping “a firm hold on the mic” — and loudly boo the GOP politician if he isn’t “giving you real answers.”
“Express your concern [to the event’s hosts] they are giving a platform to pro-Trump authoritarianism, racism, and corruption,” it says.
The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda, and to prime “the ground for the 2018 midterms when Democrats retake power.”
“Even the safest [Republican] will be deeply alarmed by signs of organized opposition,” the document states, “because these actions create the impression that they’re not connected to their district and not listening to their constituents.”
OFA also advised recording "unfavorable exchanges" with these congressional Republicans, spreading them on social media and giving them to the media, who will gladly help out with the anti-Trump efforts.
Now that Obama's out of office, he seems to be returning to what he does best: stirring up agitation as part of his far-left ideology.
3. MoveOn.org, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Planned Parenthood are also involved in these protests. Twitchy compiled a list of tweets showing this:
Phenomenal showing today at Congressman Dave Trott's office in Troy today with nearly 150 people showing up to... https://t.co/ok4mf6z8ce— SEIU Healthcare MI (@seiuhcmi) February 21, 2017
In other words, the usual leftist groups are organizing chaos to pressure and intimidate Republicans into abandoning support for Trump's agenda.
4. At these town halls, these leftists have indeed caused anarchy. Here are a few examples:
- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) had planned for a small "veteran's roundtable" that became overrun by these leftist organizers, as they attempted to ambush her with questions about Obamacare and jeers like "We want voices our heard!" and "Your last term!"
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was given a pack of Tums from a Democrat farmer who warned, "You’re going to need them in the next few years."
- Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) "was unable to talk without catcalls" from the leftists in the audience, as they labeled him as "a liar" through the town hall, per the New York Times.
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) faced people shouting "shame on you" and "lies" as she defended the GOP's efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
5. Members of Congress have been warned to take safety precautions if they are to hold a public town hall. According to NBC Washington:
The memo from the U.S. House sergeant-at-arms to every representative in the House doesn’t mention a specific threat, but it instructs them to alert their local police if they plan to attend a public meeting.
A series of town hall meetings in the hometowns of congressional leaders have been volatile recently. None has turned violent, but at least one person was arrested and some police escorts have helped protect the Congress members leading the events.
"Contact the proper law enforcement authority to coordinate any necessary police assistance at the event," the memo said.
The alert also warned them to be careful near their homes.
"It is especially critical to note that if your home address and phone number are publicly available, you should remain particularly alert regarding your surroundings."
Indeed, a number of congressional members have canceled public appearances, much to the ire of the leftist protesters:
Protesters booed in Montana when Sen. Steve Daines rescheduled for Wednesday a planned speaking appearance. And at a protest town hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania, home of Sen. Pat Toomey, the protest group called Tuesdays with Toomey hung an empty suit in place of the senator.
Some members of Congress, like Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) have opted for conference calls instead as a way to speak to their constituents.
6. These protests are nothing like the Tea Party. The New York Times quoted one of the protest organizers, Elizabeth TeSelle, as saying that her "concern is what the Tea Party ended up spawning was Trump," and protesting that Indivisible doesn't seek that.
It could be argued that Trump hijacked the Tea Party movement, but the Tea Party has never been about the nationalist populism that Trump espouses. It was a grassroots movement of everyday Americans frustrated that government was further encroaching into their lives under Democrats and Republicans. The Tea Party never sought disruption or shutting down anyone; they mere voiced their frustrations.
These anti-Trump protests, on the other hand, are a coordinated effort by left-wing organizations to raise chaos and intimidate congressional Republicans with the hopes of one day bringing the left back into power and expanding the size of government even further–all of which was never an aspect of the Tea Party movement.
"What they're trying to do is undermine the outcome of the election," Levin said on his LevinTV program. "This is a form of a coup."
7. There was one humorous moment from these town hall protests.
McConnell's face at the end of this is otherwordly pic.twitter.com/d1NWBMMUBc— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) February 21, 2017
Follow Aaron Bandler on Twitter @bandlersbanter.