Following the Women’s Marches held all over the country (and world) the day after Trump’s inauguration, a lot of the discussion was about what comes next. Some of it ran something like this: “Glad to see you all out demonstrating, but don’t forget, come November, get out, knock on doors, and help elect us.”
A good and not unexpected reminder from party organizers to be sure. But elected officials are finding another feature in the big march’s aftermath – their own feet may be more quickly held to the fire.
One example took place in Rhode Island, and the feet in question belong to Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. He, along with 13 other Democratic Senators (see link here) voted to confirm Congressman Mike Pompeo as Donald Trump’s CIA director. Days later over a thousand people showed up at Senator Whitehouse’s regular town hall meeting in Providence to protest his yes vote.
Pompeo has notably close ties to conservative billionaire puppet masters Charles G. and David H. Koch. Their company, Koch Industries, and its employees have contributed $357,000 to Mr. Pompeo since 2009. And the New York Times has called him “… one of the most overtly partisan figures to take over the C.I.A.”
The AP reported: Senator Whitehouse has hosted dozens of such events, starting from when he first ran for Senate in 2006, but they are typically sleepy affairs.
The video shows people in the crowd angrily shouting and jeering as Whitehouse speaks, and Whitehouse telling them he understands many people disagree with his vote.
“You can’t normalize these appointments!” one person yelled. And; “Take responsibility! Be accountable! You work for us” And others spoke the obvious question for any Democratic office holder:“Why would you vote yes for any of them?”
Following the meeting it was confirmed that Whitehouse admitted he may have been wrong to vote in support of Pompeo. And in a statement released Monday he said: “While Pompeo would not have been his choice, he knows the intelligence community well and “can be a check on dangerous impulses from the Trump White House.”
Senator Whitehouse and others likely shouldn’t expect “sleepy” town hall gatherings to return in the near future.
And closer to home, it’s worth wondering what effect the thousand of marchers that showed up recently in Montpelier had on our new Governor Phil Scott. Maybe Republican Scott was reminded how blue Vermont is. It seems he embraced his better instincts quite readily. And after briefly mentioning a “time-out” and flubbing his response on the Syrian immigration issue during his campaign he is now opposing his party’s President on the immigration ban more vocally than he might otherwise (not) have done.