Politics

This Former GOP Rep Says Nothing Wrong With Confronting Politicians in Public

‘It is who we are as Americans,’ ex-Florida rep says

Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., attends a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing in Rayburn Building, October 1, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Florida Republican Rep. David Jolly has no problem with Americans confronting their elected officials in public.

In fact, he thinks they should do it more.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with confronting elected officials in public. Nothing. Zero,” Jolly wrote on Twitter the weekend after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi faced loud, spontaneous protests.

“We should do more of it,” Jolly wrote. “It is who we are as Americans.”

Jolly indicated that serving in an elected position is a choice, and if you can’t handle the heat of public, face-to-face criticism, you should choose not to serve.

“No politician was conscripted to serve. They asked for the opportunity,” Jolly said.

Jolly represented Florida’s 13th District from 2014 to 2017 as a Republican. He won a special election in 2014 after his then-boss, onetime GOP House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young, died.

In 2016, former Florida Democratic Gov. Charlie Crist defeated Jolly.

Jolly has since become a vocal critic of the Trump administration on cable news networks CNN and MSNBC. He and his wife left the Republican Party in September.

The former congressman’s comments over the weekend about public confrontations of elected officials came after a spate of such encounters last week.

McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, were confronted by four people Friday at a Cuban restaurant in Louisville.

The same week, a group of protesters in Florida yelled pro-Trump phrases at Pelosi and called her a “f---ing communist.”

Trump administration officials Kirstjen Nielsen and Sarah Huckabee Sanders have been shouted out of and refused service at restaurants, respectively, in and around Washington, D.C.

Republican lawmakers have penned numerous op-eds in recent weeks denouncing liberal activists for threatening violence on public officials.

GOP lawmakers have criticized Democratic party leaders and lawmakers for “inciting violence” against Republicans by telling them to publicly protest and confront officials. Democrats have dismissed that notion.

Both Democratic and Republican offices face threats — serious and non-serious — regularly.

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