Rep. Mia Love used the GOP baseball practice-shooting tragedy to offer why she hasn’t held in-person town halls recently (she’s done zero since the 2016 election), according to one group. But even audio from two of her three posted online town halls won’t play.
James T. Hodgkinson unleashed 60 shots with a rifle this month at a GOP baseball practice for the Congressional Baseball Game. Four individuals were shot, with one, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), hospitalized. This was the response from Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah):
“It is unbelievable that someone would open fire on the GOP baseball practice today. My prayers go out to Whip Steve Scalise, those who were shot and those who were injured. Some people wonder why I get so concerned when people are stalking my home and taking pictures of me and my children. Or why some members of Congress refuse to put themselves in harm’s way, allowing hundreds of people to yell at them with no real dialogue taking place. The hatred is so bad, it only takes one person to take a mother or father away from their children. As Americans, we can not accept this behavior. It is unacceptable.”
Love’s district is Utah Congressional District 4. Utah’s CD4 Coalition, a Democratic-aligned activist group, after first condemning Hodgkinson’s actions, suggested that Love’s remark was why she hasn’t held an in-person town hall since the group asked for one 137 days ago on June 28. (It was also the date that marked 158 days since the presidential election of Donald Trump.) The constituent group suggested that Love’s comment was directed at it and proposed a handful of reasons why she shouldn’t worry that the grassroots organization would act that way.
It added that Rep. Gabby Giffords said: “To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”
Giffords made the statement about the meetings, in-person, on Feb. 23. That’s when a Republican lawmaker who has refused to hold a town hall invoked an assassination attempt that left Giffords, a centrist in Congress as a “blue dog,” with a severe brain injury. Six others were killed and 13 injured in Giffords’ meeting with constituents.
Love has also failed to hold an in-person town hall since the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. And as of June 27, there had been five full weeks of consecutive days of recess since the Jan. 20 inaugurations, aside from several other days off, according to the House Majority calendar.
Love apparently held three “tele-town halls,” on March 1, 18 and 23, according to her official website. But as of June 28, audio could be played for only one of them. I’ve checked each audio four times since March 30. And Love’s audible one, from the 1st, was announced just hours before it occurred and saw Love host it with Rep. John Ratcliffe, a bill co-sponsor from Texas.
(For comparison, audio of town halls by Rep. Chris Stewart and Sen. Mike Lee, fellow members of Utah’s all-Republican delegation, worked fine. Love also doesn’t have video as Stewart’s and Lee’s did.)
Love won two relatively narrow elections to kick off her career in Congress, by 5.1 and 11.5 percent, according to Ballotpedia.