On Saturday, Fox News correspondent pro said that congressmen should now consider changing the way they have been campaigning and interacting with their constituents, by halting town hall meetings, at least temporarily.
Rivera spoke about the political climate of the country, which seems to be quite dangerous and heated, especially following the attack on Republican congressmen at a baseball practice in Virginia. The shooting injured five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who continues fighting for his life at the Medstar Washington Medical Center. Rivera discussed his views on the show “Fox and Friends” on Fox News.
“I think Congress has to rethink these town hall meetings right now,” Rivera told the “Fox and Friends” hosts. “Unless they get the kind of security you get at an airport, with Gabby Giffords and now what happened with Steve Scalise, I think you’ve really got to understand that there is a kind of an urgent, aberrant, emotional involvement now, and for right now, we’ve got to cool it. We’ve got to be hyper-aware that our elected officials are vulnerable.”
The show’s co-host Pete Hegseth also asked Rivera whether he thought town hall meetings, which have been a part of the American political process, are an important part of campaigning and the democratic system, and whether it is much more important for the Democrats and the progressives to tone down the harsh rhetoric they have adopted against the Republicans and conservatives in general.
“I think those are lovely thoughts, Steve,” Rivera said. “But I think it’s gone too far. Now, you have a special counsel. Now, you almost have a shadow government. Now, you have [special counsel Robert] Mueller, with enormous power, enormous responsibility. He’s going to be looking, you know, in some ways — and I in no means mean to denigrate his moral character — but he’s going to be looking to justify his role. He’s going to go six ways to Sunday; it’s going to be like the old Whitewater investigation … I think that it’s really very, very serious and unsettling times, and there’s going to be great frustration on both sides — the extremists on both sides, with easy access to these killing weapons, assault rifles and so forth.”
Town hall meetings usually involve Congress members meeting and answering questions from the general public in their congressional districts. However, these meetings have become quite heated in recent months, especially for Republicans and conservatives, who are finding it increasingly difficult to defend policies that seem to be unpopular to liberals.
It is to be noted that Rivera isn’t the only person who has asked for town hall meetings to be suspended following the recent attack. Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Lou Barletta said on Thursday that he believes town hall meetings should be suspended for the time being.
“I’ve been at the end of some of those town halls where the police had to carry people out and I get concerned not only for your own safety, but for the safety of the people who are there, who actually come to be heard and even if you have an opposing opinion, that’s great,” Barletta said on a radio show.
“These town halls I believe have just become targets for people to incite other people, and it’s not good,” Barletta added.