Amash Equates Town Hall Anger to Social Media

‘People divided into factions are easier to manipulate,’ he tells audience

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., spoke with attendees of a town hall in Battle Creek for almost twice as long as scheduled on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., spoke with attendees of a town hall in Battle Creek for almost twice as long as scheduled on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted February 24, 2017 at 10:00am

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., compares the atmosphere surrounding town hall meetings to that found on social media, he told a gathering in his district on Thursday.

“I look at some of the comments you see online, and the rhetoric you see on both sides has gotten way out of line,” he told the crowd, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. “I think we have to find ways to work together to be critical of our government and our government officials, making sure that you’re holding them accountable, but you have to find ways to make sure you’re respectful toward each other.”

Later, he addressed the division within the country.

“The level of partisanship is the highest I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The rhetoric is way out of line. People divided into factions become easier to manipulate.”

Amash faced a friendlier crowd Thursday than in his two previous town halls this year. He has a fourth scheduled for Saturday.

He spent nearly twice the amount of time at Thursday’s gathering than he had been scheduled to appear, according to MLive.

“We’re supposed to hear everyone out, and then I will use my judgment to do what is in the best interest of our district and our country,” he said.

Most of the issues discussed were similar to what other Republican members of Congress have heard in their meetings with constituents: the 2010 health care law, immigration, Russia’s attempts to influence last year’s elections and that country’s ties to Trump associates, and environmental regulations.

Amash, the son of a Syrian and Palestinian refugee, disagreed with President Donald Trump’s executive order expanding the group of immigrants as priorities for deportation.

“It’s not appropriate for the government to go house to house searching for people,” he told the audience.

And he said immigration laws should prosecute businesses that employ undocumented workers.

One man in the audience equated welcoming refugees with “white genocide,” to which Amash responded that people should be allowed to come to the U.S. legally.