GOP talking security for ObamaCare protests: report

GOP talking security for ObamaCare protests: report
© Greg Nash

House Republicans have begun discussing behind closed doors measures for protecting themselves and their staff from protesters furious about the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare.

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersDems look to Seattle for next special election win Charities push GOP for tax reform change Trump, GOP lawmakers struggle with messaging MORE (Wash.) has tasked Rep. Dave ReichertDavid ReichertDems look to Seattle for next special election win Working together on children’s healthcare House passes 'Kate's Law' and bill targeting sanctuary cities MORE (R-Wash.) with suggesting safety measures for lawmakers, Politico reported Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT
Reichert, a former police sheriff, allegedly offered tips for preserving the security of congressional offices and constituent town halls.

“The message was: One, be careful for security purposes,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.). "Watch your back.”

“And two, be receptive,” added Walker, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee. "Because it is toxic out there right now. Even some of the guys who have been around here a lot longer than I have have never seen it to this level.”

Reichert suggested having local police monitor town halls, it said, and having a physical exit strategy for such events.

The Washington lawmaker also floated replacing glass doors with heavier barriers and setting up intercoms to filter out potential disruptors before they enter offices.

“It’s not that you run from protesters, but if someone suggests some sort of physical threat or are espousing a verbal threat that could lead to a physical threat, if you feel that you’re in danger and your staff is in danger, call 911 and leave and go out the back door,” Reichert said after the meeting.

“The world is sometimes not a friendly place,” he said, referencing the mass shooting at a 2011 constituent event former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) held in Tucson.

“There is a mission out there right amongst some people to disrupt the offices of certain members … to make us look inaccessible, unresponsive and like we’re not doing anything. … There is a list of things you can do to make sure your people are safe.”

Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP chairman to discuss Charlottesville as domestic terrorism at hearing Trump’s isolation grows GOP lawmaker: Trump 'failing' in Charlottesville response MORE (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that Congress’s work to repeal and replace ObamaCare would finish “this year."

Ryan has put forward an even more ambitious timetable in the House, focusing on late March for moving ObamaCare legislation.

GOP lawmakers are facing rising heat from constituents, some of who oppose changing former President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaCongress needs to assert the war power against a dangerous president CNN's Don Lemon: Anyone supporting Trump ‘complicit' in racism DOJ warrant of Trump resistance site triggers alarm MORE’s signature healthcare law.