Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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WASHINGTON — This weekend is Fran Gianti's 27th visit to Washington, D.C. The self-described “Oath Keeper, retired insurance claims examiner, mom, grandma and full-time patriot" said she had come to the U.S. Capitol from her home in Long Island for over two dozen tea party protests, and knew she had to be here to watch Donald Trump take the oath of office.

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WASHINGTON – As hundreds of Donald Trump supporters stood in the gray chill Friday morning waiting to enter the National Mall to witness his swearing-in as president, they were greeted by a delegation of a group calling themselves the "official bible believers."

"Who wants to be run by a woman?" group leader Ruben Israel (pictured), a stocky bald man wearing a "Jesus Is Lord" shirt, yelled into a bullhorn. "There's nothing wrong with having a male president, folks. The winner puts his hand on the Bible. That's the theme for today."

"It's a great day to be an American."

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Darren Knowles never met with Mike Coffman in the seven years the congressman had been serving Colorado's 6th Congressional District. But Knowles and his wife, concerned about congressional Republicans’ imminent plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, made the decision to drive over to Coffman's town hall event Saturday at Aurora Central Library.

A special education teacher who said he voted for George W. Bush twice and cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in the November election, Knowles was surprised to find the lobby filled beyond capacity with Coloradans from across the ideological spectrum hoping to get reassurance from Coffman that they would not lose health care coverage. He observed that many attendees were white and older, and that a number were physically disabled. The Knowleses waited two hours to speak to their congressman, who met with constituents in groups for four or five minutes apiece, but never got the chance. A local journalist called to the scene by the frustrated crowd eventually caught Coffman sneaking out the backdoor of the library before his scheduled time had expired.

Knowles left exasperated, and was further irritated by a statement Coffman released blaming “partisan activists” for trying to disrupt his event.

“That really got my blood boiling,” he told TPM in a phone interview. “He said he’d stand up to Trump and this is like Trump’s playbook right here: blame the people who stand up to you. I don’t know what representative Coffman wanted. If we’re concerned, are we not supposed to show up and voice our concerns?”

The August congressional recess prior to the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act was marked by testy town hall clashes between lawmakers and constituents who opposed the health care legislation. Now, more than seven years later, Republicans' attempted repeal of that legislation is unfolding in the same public, messy way.

Since Congress passed a budget resolution last week allowing repeal to proceed, voters who have personally benefited from the law have appealed to Republican members of Congress at town hall events in their districts. Others have linked up with members of local progressive groups formed since the election to pressure the incoming Trump administration, or participated in nationwide rallies organized by Democratic leadership.

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