GOP U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen is one of many members of Congress who are avoiding constituent town halls for the time being.
And, let us safely assume, for the foreseeable future. After yesterday's healthcare vote, which found Paulsen among the 217 Republican "yea" votes to pass the Trumpcare/Ryancare/tax cut/services cut healthcare plan, Paulsen issued a statement explaining his support.
His enraged constituents stood ready, and quickly tore his statement to tatters with their pitchforks.
Said Paulsen: "With millions in Minnesota and the United States in need of relief from skyrocketing costs, diminishing choices, and limited access, the status quo under Obamacare is no longer acceptable. This is just the latest step in reforming our health care system to be more patient-centered, and my focus remains on finding solutions that will make sure Americans have access to high quality, affordable health care. I’m also pleased to see the permanent repeal of the medical device tax included in this effort, which is critical to encourage medical innovation and make life-saving technologies accessible to patients."
Read between the lines, and this statement is hardly triumphant: Trumpcare is "just the latest step," and the fact Paulsen is still interested in "finding solutions" suggests even he knows he didn't find one yesterday. But he voted for it anyway.
Some of Paulsen's constituents assume as much, thinking the Congressman cynically tried selling a bill he knew was going to make "skyrocketing costs" worse for consumers, and "limited access" ever-more limited. Others think Erik just waited for House Speaker Paul Ryan's signal and pushed the button, and might not even know what this bill does. So they told him.
Within a couple hours of Thursday's vote, Paulsen's Facebook page was flooded with furious commenters, a number of whom specified they live in his suburban Twin Cities swing district. As of early Friday morning, the response to Paulsen's statement numbered 1,300 comments. Almost all are negative. Many are telling Paulsen he won't be back for a sixth term in Congress.
Below, a selection of the highlights from the unscheduled, unstoppable, fully deserved shitshow of a townhall Erik Paulsen's been trying to avoid.
- Erik Paulsen spent $413,996.12 in taxpayer money last year to promote himself back home
- Erik Paulsen should decide congressional race by eating contest, Comedy Central says
- Erik Paulsen gets money from Medtronic and Wells Fargo. Why's he campaigning with taxpayer dollars?
- Erik Paulsen deletes tweet that says Sergio Garcia "sucks"
- Who steals from public television anyway? Apparently Erik Paulsen
- Tax fight showcases Erik Paulsen's descent from warrior to lackey
- Erik Paulsen keeps cash from child molester Dennis Hastert
- No one wants to talk to Erik Paulsen
- My shouting match with Erik Paulsen's yes-man
- Wikipedia shakes finger at Erik Paulsen