At a conservative town hall meeting over the weekend, Sen. Dave Brat (R-Va.) told his constituents that women opposed to repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been “in his grill.”
“Since Obamacare and these issues have come up, the women are in my grill no matter where I go,” Brat, who serves Virginia’s seventh Congressional District, told the audience Saturday. The meeting was recorded and posted to the 7th District Town Hall Meeting Facebook (fb) page, and has since been viewed around 16,000 times.
“They come up—’When is your next town hall?’ And believe me, it’s not to give positive input,” he added.
In an interview with the Richmond-Times Dispatch, Brat said that he believes the women who are protesting the repeal are “paid to go around and raise havoc.”
He continued: “I had one woman on my Facebook say she was going to get up in my grill,” he said. “There’s paid protesters … paid activists on the far left, not my Democratic friends I go to church with.”
In a Facebook post, Brat said that further town hall meetings would be held after the first 100 days of the Trump administration.
“Over the past couple of weeks my office has been inundated with phone calls, and emails and comments on social media requesting a town hall meeting, and believe me, I fully intend to have plenty of town halls that are open and transparent as soon as our first 100 days agenda is implemented and we come up for a breath of air,” he wrote.
The news of Brat’s comments comes after Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Co.) left a town hall meeting early, despite the fact his constituents at the Auroa Public Library in Colorado were waiting to ask Coffman about the GOP’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Losing coverage has been a major concern for many of those covered by the ACA, regardless of party affiliation.
Karen Conley of Henrico County, Va., whose family purchases insurance under Obamacare, told the Dispatch that she recently called Brat’s office in support of the law.
“Nobody is being paid or put up to this by an outside organization,” she told the paper. “Everybody is putting in their time and effort because they’re dissatisfied with the representation. They feel dismissed, and that their concerns aren’t valid because they’re not being responded to.”
Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Trump, has said no one with health insurance would lose their coverage if the ACA is repealed and replaced. Her comments contradict those of top Republicans in Congress, who have refused to promise that replacing Obamacare won’t result in more uninsured Americans.