A slim majority of the Republicans on our "Political Insider" panel believe Rep. Jason Chaffetz's claim that "paid protesters" were responsible for disrupting his town hall meeting in Utah. Everyone else thinks that assertion is alternative facts.
Rep. Chaffetz's rowdy town hall meeting featured angry protesters chanting "Do your job," and disrupting the proceedings. Chaffetz blamed the atmosphere on people who were "paid" to be there and were not from Utah. There is no evidence to support Chaffetz's claim.
That didn't dissuade the Republicans who responded to our survey. 52% said they agreed with him that the protesters were paid to cause problems during the event.
95% of the Democrats who responded and 93% of our readers said they felt Chaffetz was fudging the facts by dismissing those with opposing views.
Selected anonymous comments:
I have no idea if there were paid protesters at Rep. Chaffetz meeting. He (Chaffetz) was guilty of "guilt by association" because 1. He is Republican and who the POTUS is. And 2. He has a big mouth. I have attended some town hall meetings for my Congressman (not Chaffetz), and they have been a peaceful rubber stamp meetings. Now, people are mad. The justification for their anger and angst will be determined later as more facts come or go. Mr. Chaffetz, I'm sure was unnerved because his term in office has been relatively smooth. Now it is kind of like a spoiled child the first time someone attempts to tell them "no." Paid protesters? Who knows. Rep. Chaffetz is a willing participant and recipient of the angriest and divisive political rhetoric in present memory. The whole affair is an unfortunate mess.
Paid by whom? For what specific work? How much? Is there an invoice? How do I get this magical unicorn of jobs? Does it come with healthcare?
Not all were paid protesters, but it is not unusual for paid leftists to use such tactics.
I was there. No question about it. Paid clowns all over the place.
Whether they were paid or not, they lacked civility. All they did was make elected officials across the country less willing to stand in front of constituents. I find that sad.
It was a stupid accusation.
Not all of them, obviously, but there were paid protesters in the mix
They were not his constituents for sure. It is the left's new way to communicate. They yell for 1st amendment rights when it's on their front, and when it's not, they try to shut it down.
It does not matter. Because of the idiocy of protesters, Jason won the day.
Yes. I promise you next to none of those people even live in his district! At least Chaffetz has the testicular fortitude to have a town hall, unlike Jim Matheson who in his last years only had tele-town halls with pre-screened questions. It shows the difference between the two parties right there.
The protests were organized by out of state, liberal, professional political organizations.
Chaffetz yells and bullies people in his committee and the press. He bullied immigrants to win his office. His safe district has made him dishonest and lazy.
Unfortunately, he can't wrap his head around the idea that some of his constituents might be less than pleased with his performance. He won't even listen, his current and former staff attack the people who attended the event, leaving them to continue to feel unheard.
I don't think they were paid protesters, but I do think that a concerted effort was made to get liberals to his meeting, whether they were in his district or not.
Nobody would care enough about this clown to pay people to protest. He has earned all the crap he receives.
From what I've seen, there were enough furious constituents there that no one needed to pay any outsiders. Due to Republican gerrymandering of the election districts, many Salt Lakers feel disenfranchised - no wonder they are upset!
A typical tactic used by Trump to deflect bad news and real issues.
The claim was a feeble, hollow, sophomoric excuse for an angry group of constituents. Fake. Do your job, Jason. Sad.
This business of deflecting blame for constituent anger must stop.
I was there, and I wasn't paid.
We need to be aggressive in calling out claims like this one. It is a blatant attempt to discredit opposing voices.
It's becoming too common with politicians to spin the facts of an event, which is not in their favor by attacking their constituents and the news reporting. Buying into it is not the answer.
The citizens of Utah are tired of Chaffetz not doing what we elected him to do. He wasted so much time and money on Planned Parenthood, HRC, and others with nothing to show for it. Now, there are all of these questions about Russian interference, and he doesn't want to do anything.
He's asserting this to deflect from the conversation that needs to happen. His constituents are furious that he isn't investigating Trump's ties to Russia. And I am one of those constituents.
I think Chaffetz is making excuses and still shocked that we, Utahns, are not happy with his actions.
Not even no, but HELL NO. I have lived in Utah all my life. I showed up to this event because he is a spineless lying jackass just like Trump.
I was there. The first 15 people in line and the third row. There were no paid protestors that I talked to. I even met some people who had gone to BYU, lived in Utah Valley and were registered Republicans which surprised me. They were very unhappy about the Trump's administration policies and the lack of response from Rep. Chaffetz to investigate Trump.