Millionaire Republican David Trott (MI-11) held a raucous townhall meeting this past weekend where upwards of one thousand of his constituents tried to attend, many of whom were left out in the cold because the venue they chose was too small to contain them all. Not by accident, of course:
Solicitous staffers had taken every precaution to limit the damage, scheduling the town hall to begin in the first hour past sunrise on a snowy Saturday morning, in a venue they were obliged to vacate in time to make way for the boat show opening 90 minutes later. The weather gods were complicit, whipping up a sudden blizzard that spun cars into ditches and brought traffic on the major arteries leading to the Suburban Collection Showplace to a standstill.
Still they came, arriving by the hundreds before plows had cleared the parking lot. By the time the doors opened at 8 a.m., there were close to a thousand, more than twice as many as the 425 seats set out for the event would accommodate. So most of the crowd huddled outside, chanting slogans and stamping their feet in the cold while they huddled around the videos being streamed to their smart phones by the luckier, warmer attendees inside.
The pent up demand to attend this event was the result of the fact that Trott – widely known as the “Foreclosure King” from his role in profiting from throwing people out of their homes during the Bush Recession – has been hiding from his constituents for most of his first term in office. During the recent Congressional break, Trott went to India rather than meet with the constituents in his district, the primary reason for the scheduled break which had the unambiguous name of “District Work Week”.
At the town hall, Trott was firm in his support for repealing the Affordable Care Act which will uninsure tens of millions of Americans in the first decade. After the event concluded, he was ushered out of the hall to chants of “VOTE HIM OUT!” Unfortunately for him, someone forgot to turn of his lapel microphone and he and his aides were heard planning to portray his constituents as “un-American” and admitting to “bouncing” questions – tossing out question cards they didn’t want to have to answer.
At around the 6-minute mark in the video below, you can hear Trott’s aide say, “We’re going to take that part where they’re booing funding the military and I’m gonna get somebody to write a story and we’re going to promote the shit out of that. It’s un-American crap.” He’s referring to the fact that the crowd booed him when he called the American military “the weakest it’s ever been” and for saying he supports increased military funding immediately after saying how much he enjoys meeting with groups like the Rare Diseases Association who are all asking for more funding (see video in Update 3 below.) Later in the video, Trott asks if they “bounced” any questions. His aide confirms they did.
Here’s the video where the Trott team can be heard in the background around the 6-minute mark:
This level of disdain for his constituents is shocking. It’s clear that, rather than listening to his constituents, the vast majority of whom are strongly opposed to his desire to repeal the life-saving Affordable Care Act in order to give millionaires like him a huge tax cut and his unwavering support for Donald Trump, Trott and his team are unwavering on both issues and are more interested in finding ways to demean and diminish constituents who disagree with him. Trott paid $34 for every vote he got when he was first elected in 2014 and wants to eliminate the Departments of Energy and Education. In other words, he is the classic corporatist Republican whose goal is to reconfigure our federal government to further enrich millionaires and billionaires like himself. It’s the driving force behind the Millionaire Tax Cut bill known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA). It’s no surprise that they took out the word “affordable”.
UPDATE: Indivisible Guide groups in the 11th Congressional District are calling for Trott to apologize. They send out this press release this afternoon:
Indivisible Groups Demand Apology from Trott After Calling Crowd ‘Un-American’ at Town Hall
NOVI –– Today, Michigan Indivisible Groups from the 11th District are demanding an apology from Congressman David Trott (R-Commerce Twp.) regarding comments he and his team made over a hot mic as he debriefed with staff after his Saturday town hall.
On the recording, captured by WDIV-TV in Detroit, Trott’s team plotted ways to frame the town hall crowd as “un-American,” and confessed to “bouncing” constituent questions that were submitted on cards before the event began despite promising not to.
“Congressman Trott needs to apologize to his constituents right away. Bragging about screening our questions after promising not to is the kind of typical Washington politician doublespeak that people are fed up with. And calling an entire crowd of concerned citizens ‘un-American’ is no way for an elected official to treat their constituents,” said Mark Barbieri, whose son has Type 1 diabetes. “I am literally fighting for my son’s life and to be called ‘un-American’ is beyond the pale.”
A Trott team member, who appears to be political adviser Stu Sandler, was captured on audio saying: “We’re going to take that part where they’re booing funding the military. I’m going to get somebody to write a story. We’re going to blow the shit out of that. It’s an un-American crowd.” This was in response to a negative reaction from the crowd after Trott falsely asserted that the military is the “weakest it’s ever been.” The recording also picked up Trott asking his team if there were “any questions that [they] bounced.” His staff responded that there were “a couple.”
“I can’t believe that a member of Congress would disparage our men and women in uniform as weak. And neither could the rest of the crowd of constituents, which is why we booed Congressman Trott. Now he’s trying to spin that the entire crowd was ‘un-American.’ That could not be further from the truth and should be condemned. The residents of the 11th District deserve an apology, as do all the brave service members fighting for our freedom. I hope that Congressman Trott does the honorable thing and does apologize right away. His constituents deserve it,” said David Hamilton, a resident of Troy.
UPDATE 2: Jen Hayden at Daily Kos points out that the “promoting the shit out of that” has begun by – who else? – FOX News:
Rep. David Trott “I’m gonna get somebody to write a story and we’re going to promote the shit out of that.” Well, Fox News to the rescue! In an interview this morning, Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt helpfully asked all the right questions, labeling the constituents as “liberals” and golly gee, what kind of people don’t support the military? (Hint: un-American people, that’s who!) I’m unable to embed the video, but you can view it here. In the meantime, the chryon on the video should tell you all you need to know about how completely biased this made-for-Fox News story really was:
Here’s the FOX News video where Trott gets tossed slow-moving softballs by the FOX News interviewer:
UPDATE 3: Here is video of the part where Trott is booed for saying, “I support more funding for our military” immediately after complaining that the national debt is too high and telling the crowd that going that he enjoys going to meetings where all he hears about are things people need money for like the Rare Disease Association:
UPDATE 4: Trott’s spokesman Stu Sandler issued this absurd statement today:
I was shocked and appalled at the majority of the audience that booed Congressman Trott when he stated “I support more funding for our military.”
Our troops deserve better equipment and more pay. Half of the planes in the Navy have difficulty flying, the Marines need more amphibious ships, our air force needs more pilots to state a few needs for more funding. The fact this crowd booed viciously at the suggestion for more military funding was terrible and it upset me.
I was not aware there was a microphone on. I was talking to friends and not the Congressman. I fully stand by the comments I made. After the event, I reached out to several people who were just as shocked and appalled. Media chose to cover it.
He claims he was “talking to friends and not the Congressman” which is clearly absurd because Trott can be heard asking “did I do okay?” and asking if they “bounced” any questions.