Rep. Peter King says he's refusing to do town halls because angry protesters 'diminish democracy'

Story highlights

  • "It really diminishes democracy if you're gonna show up to a meeting to just scream and yell," Rep. Peter King said.
  • "In my case, I am not having these town hall meetings because to me all they do is just turn into a screaming session," he added.

(CNN)Rep. Peter King said Thursday that he won't do town hall meetings because he believes they would just devolve into a "screaming session," adding that angry town halls "trivialize" and "diminish" democracy.

The New York Republican noted his many appearances on national television and meetings with supporters and opponents of Obamacare in his office.
"As best I can tell, there are people who are angry, we saw that on election night -- the Hillary people basically went into depression when Donald Trump won," King said on AM970 The Answer. "The anguish on the campuses. There are people who are just angry, they're angry that Trump won, that Hillary lost. There's others who are being, I guess, egged on, if you will. So I'm assuming that they're all legitimate, but to me it just does not serve a purpose. It really diminishes democracy if you're gonna show up to a meeting to just scream and yell.
    "In my case, I am not having these town hall meetings because to me all they do is just turn into a screaming session," he said. "What I am doing, I have done every national TV show."
    King said while he was "meeting with people in the office" who support and want to repeal Obamacare along with advocacy groups, doctors and hospitals, it wouldn't make sense to try explain that to a room of people.
    "To try to explain that, when you're in front of a room and everyone is screaming and yelling, makes no sense, and really trivializes democracy," King said. "I'm gonna do a telephone town hall, where people can call in. But to me, to turn this into a spectacle -- and I'm against it on either side. I just think if you want to have a intelligent logical discussion that's fine, but just to turn it into who can scream and yell the loudest. ... I have 800,000 people in my district. So let's say three or 400 people show up to scream. Do I listen to those as opposed to the others who aren't there? On the other hand, I'm not ignoring the fact that people are angry and have some legitimate grievances."