WARETOWN – After a sedate start, U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur’s (R-3) town hall turned into a Trump bashing fest, putting the Republican congressman in the visibly uncomfortable position of answering for the volatile commander in chief.
“I’m not Donald Trump’s spokesman,” MacArthur said at one point. “I didn’t go to congress to attack or defend everything the president does. I said he should release his taxes, but it’s not congress’ role to get to all those issues. We’re just briefly into this administration. He’s made some efforts to insulate himself from his real estate holdings. I did not go to congress to fight on these issues.”
A man in the crowd shouted, “We’re asking you to! We’re asking you to!”
MacArthur said, “When the president is going after criminals, I am watching to make sure we’re not going after families. …I am going to give this administration a chance. I’m not going to jump on everything you disagree with.
“This is one of the mistakes we made when President Obama was elected,” he added. “Some people did not want to give him a chance to succeed. I didn’t vote for him but I think we needed to give him a chance to succeed.”
Then a teacher stood up and told the congressman that if he is indeed a man of integrity, he would call for a real investigation of the president’s tax returns, not merely rely on Republican lawmakers “whose livelihood depend on” protecting Trump.
“I try to find the intersection of what I believe and what you want me to do,” the congressman explained to scattered claps.
MacArthur said the Affordable Care Act isn’t all bad. “It’s covered people that were never insured before,” he noted. “It’s done some things that have helped millions of people. It’s also hurting millions of people. The average premium increase in the individual exchange has gone up 37% since 2014. The average deductible is $7,400. That’s almost like not having insurance.”
“Blame the insurance companies,” a voice shouted.
“I voted no in starting the process [of repealing Obamacare],” one of nine Republican congressmen, he reminded the crowd, to claps. “The healthcare system is too big to fix in a couple of months.”
The revamped Republican bill – released tonight in Washington, D.C., can’t renege on pre-existing conditions or impact the poor, the congressman said.
“I don’t know how I’m going to vote,” MacArthur said. “I made it clear that if we pull the rug out from under the most vulnerable” he can’t support the bill to repeal Obamacare.