Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) abruptly ended an interview with local television station Monday after he was asked a series of questions about his decision to permit only residents of his district to attend his town halls.
In an interview with KCRG-TV before a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa, reporter Josh Scheinblum asked Blum, who was flanked by a group of children, why he would require people attending the event to show identification. Blum replied that he wanted to have a town hall for only his constituents in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District.
“We don’t need people from Chicago there or Des Moines there or Minneapolis there,” Blum said. “I don’t represent them. They should go talk to their representatives at their town hall meetings.”
Asked if he should be speaking to all Iowans since his votes in Congress impact the whole state, Blum said, “I don’t represent all Iowans.”
“I represent the 1st District of Iowa,” he said. “That would be like saying, ‘Shouldn’t I be able to, even though I live in Dubuque, go vote in Iowa City during the election because I’d like to vote in that district instead?’ ”
When Scheinblum asked Blum if he would take political donations from people outside his district, the lawmaker became agitated.
"I'm done ... this is ridiculous," Blum said, ending the interview and accusing the reporter of trying to “badger” him.
ABC News reported that Blum said he stormed out of the interview because he was “ambushed” at a town hall event.
“It was very apparent that he had an agenda,” Blum said. “It's my right to say that this interview is over."
During a segment about the interview, KCRG anchors said that it took weeks for Blum’s staff to arrange the interview and the congressman “insisted” that the group of children in the background accompany him during the interview at Dubuque Senior High School.
Several Republican lawmakers have faced rowdy town halls following President Donald Trump's election, particularly over efforts to repeal Obamacare. Republican lawmakers including Reps. Diane Black (Tenn.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah) and Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) have faced hostile town hall audiences since Trump took office.
Some Republicans have claimed that liberal activists are seeking to disrupt their town halls.