‘Do your job!’: Voters chide Chaffetz during tense town hall in Utah

‘Do your job!’: Voters chide Chaffetz during tense town hall in Utah
Image source: KSTU-TV

Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz was heckled Thursday night during a town hall in his home state as hundreds of people showed up to hold their lawmaker accountable.

Chaffetz spoke and took questions from constituents at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, just outside Salt Lake City. Crowds packed the 1,100-seat auditorium and hundreds more stood outside trying to get in as Chaffetz struggled to get a word in, KSTU-TV reported.

Footage from the event captured those who attended the town hall chanting, “Do your job! Do your job! Do your job!”

One woman outside was arrested after she allegedly pushed through police to try get inside the building. This, as hundreds inside were heard chanting, “Let them in! Let them in!” At one other point, a woman inside even rushed the stage.

Cottonwood Heights Police Lt. Dan Bartlett said no else was being allowed inside because the building was at capacity.

“It’s fire code,” Bartlett told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Chaffetz was asked specifically by one man why the House Ethics Committee won’t investigate President Donald Trump amid allegations of ethics violations. Chaffetz is not on the House Ethics Committee, but he chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Neither committee has launched an investigation into Trump’s past business ties and whether those relationships could pose a conflict of interest for him as president.

“There’s no case to be made that we went soft on the White House. In terms of doing my job, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing,” Chaffetz said, adding that he is looking into comments White House counselor Kellyanne Conway made Thursday in which she promoted the product line of Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump.

According to the Tribune, Chaffetz answered a total of 13 questions. Three had to do with public lands, four were related to investigating Trump and the remaining six questions covered everything from Planned Parenthood to the environment to Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos.

Chaffetz was also confronted over his months-long investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server while saying that he has no plans to investigate any of the questions surrounding Trump’s businesses. Trump signed over control of his real estate empire to his two oldest sons, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump, shortly before taking office.

“If you want to continue to look into Hillary Clinton, I don’t care. But why aren’t you checking out your own president?” the man asked.

Chaffetz was slow to support his party’s nominee for president, even saying at one point during the campaign that he “just can’t” put his name and reputation on the line to support Trump. Chaffetz made the comment shortly after the “Access Hollywood” tape was released, in which Trump made lewd and inappropriate comments about women.

Trump apologized for the comments less than 24 hours after the tape was leaked, saying he “regretted” the comments he had made years earlier.

“My wife, Julia and I, we have a 15-year-old daughter. Do you think I can look her in the eye and tell her that I endorsed Donald Trump for president when he acts like this and his apology?” Chaffetz told CNN in October, adding, “That was no apology, that was an apology for getting caught.”

But in late October, less than three weeks after Chaffetz seemingly pulled his support for Trump, Chaffetz flipped.

“I will not defend or endorse @realDonaldTrump, but I am voting for him. HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] is that bad. HRC is bad for the USA,” Chaffetz tweeted Oct. 26.

The Utah congressman took a similar approach to Trump during his town hall Thursday night outside Salt Lake City.

“Given my heart of hearts, given the choice that was before us: by far Donald Trump was the better choice,” Chaffetz said.

Although Utah is one of the most conservative states in the country, Republicans in the state were reluctant to support Trump. They voted overwhelmingly for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican caucus. Even after Trump had already locked up the Republican nomination, Utah native and former CIA officer Evan McMullin gave Trump a run for his money, even edging out the Manhattan billionaire in one pre-election poll released in October.

Trump won Utah in the Nov. 8 presidential election handily with more than 45 percent of the vote, compared with Clinton’s 27.8 percent and McMullin’s 21 percent, according to Politico.

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