Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) on Wednesday said members of Congress should “absolutely” cut down on public events in the wake of a shooting at Republican lawmakers’ baseball practice that left six people injured, including Senate Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who remains in critical condition.
“Do you think that for now members of Congress and the Senate should curtail that kind of activity until perhaps we agree that we need to be more civil?” Pennsylvania radio station WILK’s host Sue Henry asked Barletta, as flagged by CNN’s KFILE.
“I think absolutely,” Barletta replied. “There’s no question.”
Barletta said he has “been at the end of some of those town halls where the police had to carry people out.”
“You get concerned not only for your own safety but for the safety of the people who are there,” he said. “Even if you have an opposing opinion, that’s great, that’s what these events are for, but there’s a level, you know, when people cross a line to actually inciting other people and when individual safety becomes an issue, well, then the purpose of doing it is lost.”
Barletta said he believes town halls have “become such, really, just targets for people to try to incite other people.”
“It’s not good,” he said.
Republican members of Congress have faced contentious town halls since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, where constituents have questioned them about everything from the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare to whether they are willing to act as a check on Trump’s executive authority.
Many lawmakers have reduced the number of public events they attend, in one case prompting a Democratic representative to offer to hold town halls on his Republican counterpart’s behalf to explain the policies to the constituents he claimed are calling his office instead.