A spokesman for George Soros and his Open Society Foundation denied the billionaire was in any way tied to funding for protesters who’ve been raising ruckus at Republican town halls around the nation in recent weeks.
“There have been many false reports about George Soros and the Open Society Foundations funding protests in the wake of the U.S. presidential elections,” the statement from the foundation spokesman said. “There is no truth to these reports.”
The statement comes as Republicans, traveling to their home districts in recent days, have come under angry fire from constituents who’ve disrupted their town-hall proceedings.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, for example, faced down fiery backlash over the looming repeal and replacement of Obamacare. At one point in Cotton’s recent Springdale school auditorium meeting, held Wednesday, an angry voter asked all those in the audience who liked Obamacare to please stand – and hundreds did.
Also on Wednesday, Sen. Bill Cassidy was surprised by a woman who tossed pieces of green paper at his podium in a Louisiana spot, and upset by protesters who demanded he account for his vote for Betsy DeVos as Education secretary.
A day earlier, it was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who was confronted at his town hall in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. There, one woman angrily demanded how he was going to help out those coal miners who would be left insurance-less when Obamacare was repealed.
And again, on Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley was confronted by one outraged constituent who used the Iowa senator’s own past critical words about Obamacare as cause to confront. The man accused that Grassley, if he voted to repeal Obamacare, would be guilty of creating “one great big death panel” for those unable to afford private medical insurance. The death panel phrase was something Grassley himself used in 2009 as a criticism and warning of what was coming by way of healthcare, if Democrats passed Obamacare.
Earlier this month, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah faced a booing crowd during his gathering near Salt Lake City. There, audience members chanted, “Do your job,” as he was trying to explain his defense of President Donald Trump.
The vitriol at the town meetings has grown so intense Rep. Louie Gohmert just announced in a letter this week he would not be holding any such gatherings himself.
“Unfortunately,” Gohmert wrote, “at this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety. Threats are nothing new to me and I have gotten my share as a felony judge. However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former congresswoman Gabby Gifford was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed – just as happened there.”
Giffords, a former Arizona Democratic congresswoman, was shot in the head in 2011 at a “Congress on Your Corner” constituent reach-out event in Tucson. Thirteen were wounded, including Giffords, and six others killed and Jared Lee Loughner eventually pleaded guilty to the shootings.
Gohmert has been hit a bit in the liberal press for his refusal to hold town halls. But even Trump acknowledged the vicious atmosphere, while writing it off as ventings of partisan liberals.
In a tweet, he wrote: “The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!”
Vice President Mike Pence, speaking Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, said similarly.
“Despite the best efforts of liberal activists at town halls around the country, the American people know better,” Pence said. “Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go.”
Soros has been pointed out as the primary funder of these protesters.
Family Research Council CEO Tony Perkins, for instance, wrote on Wednesday that the outrage about Trump and Obamacare seen at recent town hall meetings is “manufactured” in part at least by Soros.
Chaffetz, too, said he believes “a concerted, national efforts, some of which was paid,” is the cause of much of the town hall-tied angst, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Still others, like Michael Duncan, the former chief of the tea party-type FreedomWorks group, haven’t exactly used Soros’ name – but a connection is perhaps implied.
“Liberal groups are scooping up thousands of emails by organizing and providing tools to activists,” he said in a tweet on Thursday.