What Darrell Issa was doing on the roof

A report from the ground.

Issa on the roof. CREDIT: @MikeLevinCA
Issa on the roof. CREDIT: @MikeLevinCA

Many members of Congress returned home this week to find large numbers of energized and infuriated constituents demanding answers. The large group of voters who assembled outside Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) office on Tuesday was typical.

Issa’s response, however, was anything but.

Mike Levin, the author of the above tweet, is an interested party. He’s running as a Democrat in a bid to unseat Issa.

ThinkProgress talked to Ellen Montanari, who organized the protest outside of Issa’s office, to get the full story.

Montanari said she organizes protests every Tuesday, from 10 AM to 11 AM. Vista, California, the city where Issa’s district office is located, banned these protests from the sidewalk directly in front of the office building, so the group relocated across the street.

At around 9:30 AM, Montanari says she saw Issa walking into his office and extended her hand.

“Step away, you are a protester,” Issa said, according to Montanari. “I don’t care about you people.”

Montanari responded that she was a constituent and asked him to consider scheduling a second town hall meeting, since many people were excluded from one that was scheduled.

Issa rejected that idea, saying the protesters had their chance and “took over” a previous town hall.

A spokesperson for Issa did not immediately return a request for comment on his alleged exchange with Montanari.

Issa told a reporter from the San Diego Union Tribune that he tried to speak to the protesters but they wouldn’t talk to him. He then accused the reporter of being an operative.

Montanari said she declined to provide Issa the group’s microphone after he was rude to her.

But the congressman portrayed the encounter as far more amicable, tweeting that he “spent the morning talking to constituents.”

The photos actually show Issa delivering a piece of cake to a man named Sean — a Trump supporter who shows up every Tuesday. Issa did not speak with the main group of protesters otherwise.

He did speak briefly with a few people who, because of mobility issues, were permitted to protest on the same side of the street as his office building. That’s what is depicted in one of the photos Issa tweeted, on the lower left.

He also, as shown in the photo posted by Levin, went to the roof to take a picture. Montanari described this as part of a general effort by Issa and his staff to photograph the crowd. There were also police in the area and people associated with the city measuring the decibel level.

Ellen Montanari will be back next Tuesday.