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Katie Porter town hall marred by fist fights after her GOP opponent asks supporters to confront her

Katie Porter town hall marred by fist fights after her GOP opponent asks supporters to confront her

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If one wants to assess the stark differences between the Democratic and the Republican parties, take a look at some of the people elected to Congress by each party.

On the Republican side, you have people like the alleged transporter of teens across state lines for unlawful carnal knowledge, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) of Jewish space laser fame.

On the Democratic side, there is the progressive firebrand Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), one of the leading proponents of the Green New Deal, and the terror of dissembling corporate executives, Representative Katie Porter (D-CA), armed with her marker and whiteboard.

The difference in intellect and compassion for ordinary Americans could not be starker.

Of course, being admired by millions of Democrats opens people like Congresswoman Porter up to the status of a target amongst the GOP rabble-rousers who want to see some Trump acolyte take her seat representing California’s Orange County, which was previously a staunchly Republican district until Porter managed to wrest a victory in the 2018 midterms as her district’s voters were reacting against the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency.

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Nick Taurus is one of those people hoping to unseat Rep. Porter in the 2022 midterms.

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A Trump supporter who describes himself as an “American nationalist” — likely because labeling himself as a White nationalist” would bring more trouble than it would be worth — Taurus reportedly posted an invite on Instagram asking his own supporters to “confront Katie Porter” this weekend at her first local town hall event since the pandemic started last year, an event held outdoors for pandemic safety.

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“Katie Porter is a far-left ideologue supported by Bay Area academics, the billionaire class and foreign lobbies!” Taurus wrote in the post. “Her America Last policies are awful for the 45th district and we intend to voice our displeasure.”

Confront they did.

Right after Rep.Porter began her event with a few hundred people at the Mike Ward Community Park in Irvine, California, while stating that she hoped to make it a “family-friendly environment, even as we talk about the hard issues,” Taurus and his handful of disruptors began to shout “Carpetbagger Katie!” and “Corrupt Katie Porter,” as the congresswoman tried to discuss issues ranging from climate change to COVID vaccinations.

Here’s how The Los Angeles Times described what happened next:

“Porter supporters, who made up the bulk of the crowd, tried to drown out the protesters by chanting, “Katie! Katie! Katie!” or screaming, “Shut up!” A few confronted protesters, resulting in punches being thrown and men falling to the ground. Porter rushed to the scuffle, wrapping her arms around an older woman near the scrum,” the newspaper reported.

Eventually, officers from the Irvine Police Department were able to break up the fights and restore order, but the disruption that Taurus sought had been accomplished.

 

The Irvine Police issued the following statement in the aftermath:

“Our officers were on scene for the event. There were opposing opinions at the town hall. It got heated and punches were thrown. One man received a bloody nose. The suspect was arrested, given a citation and released from the scene. The assault occurred at about 3:45pm.”

Afterward, Congresswoman Porter issued a statement saying:

“At our town halls, we take steps, such as putting all questions into a bingo ball spinner, so that we hear all voices, not just the loudest ones.”

“It is disappointing that a small but vocal group of attendees, who advertised a ‘confrontation rally,’ created unsafe conditions at a planned family-friendly event,” the statement read. “While I absolutely respect their right to disagree, their disturbance disrespected all the families who attended and were ready to engage in a thoughtful, civil and safe way.

“My team and I are evaluating next steps, but my promise to Orange County families is that I will continue to hold town halls and to be in conversation with them.”

For his part, Taurus is claiming that he and his followers were “attacked by rabid leftists” and that Porter’s method of choosing questions didn’t allow their queries to be heard.

Other attendees disagreed with Taurus’ description of the melee.

Irvine resident Kathleen Ripley is generally supportive of her congresswoman, although she told The Los Angeles Times that she wished porter would focus more on college debt.

She criticized Taurus and his unruly mob for their disruption of an event that she had hoped would be less stressful to attend.

“It’s upsetting,” she said of the fights that broke out. “But there is no point in talking to them. They literally had a chance to put in questions just like all the rest of us … but instead they decided to be disrespectful and shout over the congresswoman and everybody else here.”

Yes, there is a stark difference between Democrats and Republicans these days.

In this case, the Democrat was making an effort to hear from all of her constituents while taking pains to make sure that all voices were equally able to be heard by selecting questions submitted in advance at random.

The Republican seeking to win her seat shows up as if they were a bunch of Nazi brownshirts with the intention of disrupting the town hall and preventing anyone from being heard.

It doesn’t take much to figure out which of these two people would be the more responsible political representative: the effective fighter for people’s rights or the fighter who talks with his fists.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter. 

Original reporting by Seema Mehta at The Los Angeles Times and by Annie Grayer at CNN.

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