Iowa Rep. Rod Blum quits interview over town hall questions

Kristi Paul
May 10, 2017

"Some would make the case that you represent all Iowans", Scheinblum said. "Shouldn't all Iowans have a voice at the table or at least have the option to?"

BLUM: (laughs) I don't represent all Iowans, I represent the first district of Iowa. That'd be like saying, 'shouldn't I be able to - even though I live in Dubuque - vote in Iowa City?

Scheinblum then asked a simple question which ended the interview immediately: "Would you still take donations from a Republican in Iowa City?". This is ridiculous. This is ridiculous.

"I don't think he's going to change any minds, no I don't", said Linda Louko.

As the interview continued, Blum said that his office was requiring IDs for the town halls, a typically uncommon practice, to ensure that the people at the meetings are his constituents in Iowa's first district. But as Scheinblum showed, this is an entirely hypocritcal posture for Blum, who has of course gladly accepted campaign contributions from all across the country.

"Would you take a vow not to ever take any more money from the Koch brothers?" the woman said, to cheers. Yet those attempts did not stop the rowdy crowd from skewering Blum for his vote for the American Health Care Act.

"The bill is better than what we have", Blum said to a chorus of boos.

So far so good, except for Blum blowing his top at an easy follow-up question on whether the congressman would accept donations from voters outside of his district.

The local Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier wrote that "t$3 he two-term incumbent faced regular interruptions from shouted questions, stomping feet, and boos when delivering answers in support" of Trumpcare, which he voted against in its first incarnation, but came around to support last week after provisions were inserted to make it easier for insurance companies to increase prices for pre-existing conditions and more.

And boom, it becomes an instant national story, a microcosm of how conservative Republicans, especially in swingy districts, are struggling to defend why they voted for a bill many of them despise. Blum, followed by a group of children KCRG-TV9 said he asked be at the interview, was unconvinced.

Blum stood up and threw a spectacular tantrum before storming out.

In the political tinderbox that is much of America right now, one impulsive comment or action - like walking out of a TV interview that hadn't even touched on health care - can light a fire that spreads across the nation.

Blum sat down for an interview with KCRG-TV9, surrounded by children, with the reporter noting some would argue that Blum's decisions impact all Iowans.

"I feel like I've been in a barnyard", she said, "and that we wasted our congressman's time". But he made sure that no one from outside his district could take his constituents' seats at the meeting.

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