Rep. Jason Chaffetz faced angry constituents during a rowdy town hall Thursday night in Cottonwood Heights, his first since Donald Trump assumed office.
More than 1,000 people packed into the auditorium of Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, with hundreds more stuck outside after the fire marshal capped their entry.
Among the most frequently asked question to Chaffetz was whether he planned on investigating President Trump’s potential business conflicts as vigorously as he did Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
“You're really not going to like this part — the president, under the law, is exempt from conflicts of interest laws," he said to boos.
"I think there is a very dangerous precedent, very dangerous precedent to have somebody that’s in power to overuse that power," he said, being drowned out by the crowd.
The forum went on in this way, with his answers frequently interrupted, as he addressed issues from Trump’s executive orders to Congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood to a controversial public lands bill, called H.R. 622, that he’s proposed.
“What this bill would do — hold on — is get rid of the BLM and Forest Service police and give that money and that responsibility to the local sheriff,” he said, again prompting shouts.
Sandy resident Erin Mullaly went to the forum hoping to ask Chaffetz about his plans for the Affordable Care Act, which she has an insurance plan through. She brought her mom and friend along to the meeting — a first for her.
“I've never been involved in any kind of civics, and I’ve never been to a town hall,” she said. “And now, as I think you can see from the size of this crowd, people are really riled up. They’re kind of like, 'look at all these things that are happening.' Things are definitely changing.”
Organizers brought “Agree” and “Disagree” signs to hold up throughout the Q & A, but most stuck to yelling, booing and the occasional “Do your job!” chant.
The acrimonious town hall ended after about an hour-and-a-half and Chaffetz made a hasty exit stage right.