An Iowa Congressman abruptly left a television interview on Monday after he was asked only two questions about his town hall events. The question that pushed Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) over the edge concerned the congressman’s decision to screen town hall attendees before letting them inside.
The Cedar Rapids television station KCRG, had its investigative reporter, Josh Scheinblum, interview Rep. Blum. Blum insisted that a group of elementary school-age children be present for the interview, which made the scene even more awkward when he stormed off of the set.
When Scheinblum asked Blum why he decided to ask people for their identification before attending his town halls, Blum said he only wanted to see people from his district.
“We don’t need people from Chicago or Des Moines or Minneapolis there. I don’t represent them,” Blum said.
When asked how he would respond to people who say his decisions impact all Iowans, Blum laughed and said, “I don’t represent all Iowans.”
But then Scheinblum asked if Blum would take a donation from a Republican in Iowa City. Blum stood up and said, “This is ridiculous. This is ridiculous … You’re going to sit here and just badger me,” and left the room.
A woman then ushered the children out with him.
Watch the whole exchange below:
Blum later claimed that he thought the interview was about Dubuque Dream Center, a community outreach center for youth and families, and that he had been “ambushed.” Talking Points Memo reported that the congressman requested the interview.
His Monday town hall in Dubuque, Iowa, did not go any more smoothly. Rep. Blum was repeatedly booed by his constituents as he explained his health care vote. According to RadioIowa, woman who attended the town hall said to Blum, “You voted on this bill in a rush. There were no committee hearings. It pertains to my life. What was the rush?”
Although the process could have been better, Blum said, Congress had to act.
“The bill is better than what we have, so it’s heading in the right direction,” Blum told the crowd, which reportedly booed as he answered.
Some of the people who attended the town hall were not impressed by his decision to leave the interview, and asked why he should be trusted to deal with “tough problems” if he couldn’t answer a reporter’s question.
Blum is politically vulnerable. He’s in a swing district that narrowly went to Trump. In 2012, the same district went to Barack Obama. Blum won reelection last year with 54 percent of the vote.