Crowd got your tongue?
As we noted last week, that seems to be the case for Republican senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. Likely dissuaded by the raucous town halls taking place throughout the country, both have turned down repeated calls from constituents to hold their own meetings.
Their inaction is all the more striking compared with U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield, who held a community meeting last weekend that drew hundreds of (unpaid) attendees. Butterfield led the gathering with a call to action. "I need your help," he told constituents at Durham's Hillside High School. "I cannot do it alone. Don't sit down on me!"
He laid out a few of his priorities: an independent investigation of Russian hacking in the election, fighting against the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, opposing Medicare privatization, supporting immigrants and fighting mass deportations, and restoring voting rights.
Butterfield then took questions about reproductive health, health care, LGBTQ rights, climate change, immigration checkpoints, campaign finance, and more. The Q-and-A session lasted for more than two hours, with dozens of questioners. At one point, Butterfield told the crowd to keep up the pressure—"Don't you think that resistance does not pay off!"—making Tillis's and Burr's silence all the more deafening.
Speaking of Burr—and Russian hacking—we learned over the weekend that while North Carolina's senior senator apparently isn't willing to do face time with his constituents, he did make time to help the Trump administration push back on a story that ran in The New York Times recently reporting that members of Trump's team and Russian intelligence officials had had repeated meetings during the campaign.
The Washington Post reported that Burr—a member of the Trump campaign's national security advisory council and the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is supposed to be investigating this affair—had jumped on White House-arranged calls with reporters, on background, to dispute stories in the Times and elsewhere.
"I've had those conversations," Burr told the Post. "I felt I had something to share that didn't breach my responsibilities to the committee in an ongoing investigation."
It makes you wonder how seriously he takes this Russia thing, after all. .