breaking news

As shutdown deal reached, Trump stays out of sight

Georgia demonstrators demand GOP hold townhall meetings


Georgia demonstrators turned a low-profile event with junior congressional staffers into a stand against Donald Trump's policies. Now they’re demanding a chance to vent to the lawmakers in-person at a town hall meeting.

Several groups on Saturday called for Sen. David Perdue and other Republicans to hold a traditional town hall meeting in metro Atlanta, and scheduled a protest at his downtown Atlanta office on Tuesday to drive their point home. Some singled out a statement from Perdue’s office that their protest would “deny those who really need help.”

>> Read more trending news 

 “We are the people who really need help,” said Janel Green, an organizer of the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, one of the groups spearheading the demonstrations. “We have no voice, no representation in the Senate as our senators refuse to hear our concerns.”

A wave of national protests have rocked GOP events since Donald Trump’s inauguration, including public appearances held by Republican congressmen even in deeply conservative bastions. 

With no town hall meetings yet scheduled in Georgia, critics of the president’s policies targeted an event held Friday led by aides to three GOP lawmakers in the east Georgia town of Greensboro as a chance to make a statement. The event was organized by the offices of Perdue, Sen. Johnny Isakson and Rep. Jody Hice.

Realted: Anti-Trump protesters pack Purdue, Isakson event

The staffers to the three politicians were clearly caught off guard by the size and organization of the protesters, and briefly walked out of the room to the chants of "Shame!" A Hice staffer later returned with pen and paper in hand, jotting down notes as more than a dozen speakers railed against Trump’s policies and urged Georgia Republicans to defy him.

Perdue’s spokeswoman Caroline Vanvick said the senator set up the meetings to help Georgians who had “casework concerns” with federal agencies, such as senior citizens and veterans.

“If organized groups want to manufacture protests and continue to be disruptive,” she said, “it will only deny those who really need help.”

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here  

 Even the phrasing of Friday’s event was a source of controversy.

The lawmakers’ deputies told protesters Friday the event was never intended to be a “town hall” and that they wouldn’t answer questions, leading to a cascade of boos. And a Hice staffer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday it was planned as a “constituent services day” with private one-on-one sessions with residents to hash out passport problems and other issues.

But several organizers on Friday and Saturday circulated a press release from Isakson's office earlier this month describing it as a chance for constituents to talk to his aides about “any issues concerning the federal government, federal legislation or federal agencies.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

3 sentenced in stomping that caused pregnant teen to miscarry brother’s child
3 sentenced in stomping that caused pregnant teen to miscarry brother’s child

Three members of a Texas family were sentenced to prison last week in the brutal 2013 beating and stomping of a 13-year-old relative who authorities said was raped -- and impregnated -- by her own brother.  Sharon Jones, 47, of Dallas, and two of her children, Cedric Jones Jr., 29, and Cecila McDonald, 28, pleaded guilty for their part in the...
Nelson votes to keep government running, reversing his Friday vote
Nelson votes to keep government running, reversing his Friday vote

Less than 72 hours after voting to shut down the federal government, Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and most of his Democratic colleagues softened their position on immigration Monday and supported an agreement to keep the government running through Feb. 8. Nelson — up for re-election this year and attacked by Republicans for his shutdown vote...
Schumer’s ‘cave’? Shutdown deal puts spotlight on Dem leader
Schumer’s ‘cave’? Shutdown deal puts spotlight on Dem leader

Republicans tried to make Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer the face of the government shutdown. Now, he’s becoming the face of the Democratic retreat. For two days, Schumer, perhaps the most powerful Democrat in Washington, succeeded in keeping his party unified in a bid to use the government funding fight to push for protections for some...
Cigarette butt leads to arrest after robbery during Hurricane Irma
Cigarette butt leads to arrest after robbery during Hurricane Irma

A cigarette butt left at a home that was burglarized during Hurricane Irma led to the arrest of a Florida woman and her alleged accomplice, sheriff officials said. Cassandra Taylor, 32, was arrested after deputies said she burglarized and ransacked a DeLeon Springs home on Billings Avenue in Volusia County last Sept. during the emergency evacuation...
Amazon debuts cashier-less Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle
Amazon debuts cashier-less Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle

More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon opened its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in Seattle Monday. The store on the bottom floor of Amazon’s headquarters billed itself as grocery shopping for the future. It has no registers and no cashiers. >> Read more trending news  Shoppers have to download...
More Stories