Protesters In Georgia Crowd Meeting With Congressional Staff
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Protesters have been flocking to public meetings with members of Congress to protest the administration of President Trump. Johnny Kauffman of member station WABE reports that protesters have a lot to say, even when there are no politicians around to hear them.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Shame, shame, shame, shame.
JOHNNY KAUFFMAN, BYLINE: More than 300 people shout shame at Republican congressional staffers during a meeting in the rural town of Greensboro, Ga., on Friday.
KAUFFMAN: No members of Congress are actually here. Jessica Hayes is a staffer for Republican Representative Jody Hice. She says the meeting is meant for people who need help with social security and the IRS.
JESSICA HAYES: It is not a town hall. We're not going to have a town hall meeting.
KAUFFMAN: One staffer sticks around, but the rest quickly leave the packed room, so the crowd holds its own impromptu town hall. Annie Grant takes the mic. She says Trump isn't fulfilling his promise to stop corruption.
ANNIE GRANT: He has loaded the swamp with billionaires.
GRANT: He has loaded the swamp with people who do not care about us in these little small towns. Listen, I mean, it's crazy.
KAUFFMAN: Katie Dahlstrand is with a local progressive group, Athens for Everyone. It helped rally people to the meeting using social media. She says the election made her realize she needed to actually do something.
KATIE DAHLSTRAND: I decided that being a passive progressive was no longer an option.
KAUFFMAN: Dahlstrand says the Republican staffers at the meeting should have been better prepared for the crowd.
DAHLSTRAND: They're going to get used to it. If it's a surprise now, they'll be exhausted by the end of the year.
KAUFFMAN: In a statement, a staffer for Georgia Senator David Perdue said the protesters are disruptive and will only deny help for those who really need it. For NPR News, I'm Johnny Kauffman in Atlanta. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.