CLAYTON • About 100 protesters lined an intersection outside U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt's office in Clayton Tuesday, holding signs that asked “Where's Roy?” and demanding the Missouri Republican conduct town hall-style meetings with the public.
"Our impression is that, if things go the way they're going, there's simply is not going to be a town hall meeting with Senator Blunt. Our objective is to change that if we can," said organizer Scott Wilson, as passing cars on Bonhomme Avenue honked their support.
Congressional Republicans around the country have been facing protests in public meetings with their constituents over the GOP's plans to repeal Obamacare or, more generally, about the party's support for the policies of President Donald Trump.
The protests are reminiscent of Tea Party activism against Democratic senators and representatives early in President Barack Obama's term, which caused some of those lawmakers to avoid holding open public meetings. Some Republican office-holders now are reacting in the same way, with their absence from public appearances in their home states and districts sparking protests like the one Tuesday.
"There's a lot energy, a lot of anxiety, a lot of hostility, you see the news reports on town halls in other jurisdictions,” said Wilson, whose nascent protest group is called St. Louis Indivisible. “I think Sen. Blunt isn't interested in exposing himself to what's actually out here.” Wilson vowed that, if Blunt would conduct such a meeting, “our group will treat him with respect."
The Post-Dispatch has asked Blunt's office for a comment.
Blunt supported Trump after he sealed the GOP presidential nomination, though he hasn't been a notably enthusiastic supporter.
Last month, Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, made national headlines as one of the first Republicans to call for an official investigation into possible ties between the Trump Administration and the Russian government. Several of the protesters Tuesday tempered their criticism of Blunt by noting that fact.
A separate group has announced they will protest outside the office U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, at 301 Sovereign Court in Ballwin, on healthcare issues.