Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to Clinton: 'This is not the kind of rhetoric that we need' Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Human Rights Campaign president rips Sanders's embrace of Rogan endorsement MORE (I-Vt.) on Thursday blasted the GOP lawmakers who have refused to hold in-person town hall events due to a flurry of recent protests.

"If you don't have the guts to face your constituents, then you shouldn't be in the United States Congress," Sanders said during an interview with CNN.

The former presidential candidate said the wave of angry of American voters greeting GOP lawmakers is a consequence of unpopular positions articulated by President Trump, including a call to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.


"And if you need police at the meetings, that's fine, have police at the meetings, have security at the meetings. But don't use that as an excuse to run away from your constituents after you support repealing the Affordable Care Act, throwing 20 million people off of health insurance, doing away with preexisting conditions," he said.

"If you are going to do all those things, answer the questions that your constituents have."

GOP members of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators MORE (Ky.), Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSchiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  GOP senator provides fidget spinners to Senate colleagues at lunch MORE (Ark.) and Bill Cassidy (La.) and Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (Utah), have been bombarded with protesters at home-town events over the weeklong Presidents' Day recess. 

Trump claimed this week that many of the demonstrations were "planned out" by activists.

"The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!" he tweeted on Tuesday.