As U.S. senators and representatives took a brief recess this week, visiting their home states for town hall meetings with constituents, one senator ran into some issues with a tough crowd. Bill Cassidy, a first-term Republican senator from Louisiana, was meeting with a crowd of constituents in Metairie yesterday, but as Louisiana State chaplain Michael Sprague begun to recite an opening prayer, the crowd immediately began to heckle him.
One man interrupted Sprague’s first words to shout, “Amen! Let’s get on with it.” Another person added, “Pray on your own time. This is our time.” Meanwhile, a group of people began to chant repeatedly, “Separation of church and state.” Here’s a video of the interruption of the opening invocation:
But the disruptions didn’t end there. As a local veteran took the microphone to lead the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the jeering continued, with one man audibly yelling, “Do your job.” Here’s the video footage of this bout of heckling:
According to a local news account of the town hall event, many constituents had arrived at 11:30 a.m. for the event, which wasn’t scheduled to begin until 3:30 p.m. The venue was much too small for the hundreds who actually showed up, because it had been booked weeks in advance and Cassidy’s staff hadn’t expected such a large crowd. To top it off, Cassidy arrived 20 minutes late, as he had been inspecting the tornado damage in New Orleans.
Throughout Cassidy’s remarks, the crowd remained unsettled, becoming particularly upset when he mentioned President Donald Trump and even more incensed when he referenced Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. It appeared from the footage and the news accounts that the constituents didn’t actually want to ask questions or hear what Cassidy had to say; they wanted to express their anger.