Town Hall Mostly Civil, Emmer Doesn’t Have to Leave

Chief of staff had said congressman would leave if crowd got unruly

Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., had a civil discussion at his town hall after threatening to leave if it got too raucous. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After initially threatening to cancel a town hall if it got too rowdy, Minnesota Republican Rep. Tom Emmer saw a mostly civil back and forth with constituents.

Emmer apologized for holding the event at the Sartell City Hall, which held 150 people and left many of the hundreds of people who were in line outside, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

“I think in the future we’ll do bigger venues,” he said.

Prior to the event, Emmer’s chief of staff threatened the congressman would leave if the event got too raucous.

Emmer largely sidestepped multiple questions about President Donald Trump’s administration, saying he would defer to intelligence committees about Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

When asked about Congress paying for the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, a mainstay of Trump’s campaign, Emmer said, “We’ll have to see what they actually produce.”

Emmer did criticize the rollout, but not the substance, of Trump’s travel ban on seven predominantly-Muslim nations. He also expressed skepticism over Trump’s executive order that requires eliminating two regulations for every new one created.

“It seems a little cute to do the, ‘for every one regulation, you’re going to repeal two,’” Emmer said.

Emmer listened to opposing points of view, even calling upon David Snyder, the Democratic Farmer Labor Party candidate whom he beat in 2016.

Emmer refused to pledge to delay repealing Obamacare until Republicans had a replacement plan in place, but he avoided confrontation for the most part and engaged with those who raised the issue, even though he disagreed, the newspaper reported.

“It’s time to stop pointing fingers,” Emmer said. “The people who voted for [the Affordable Care Act] and tried to create it had the best interests of the people ... in mind.”

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