Indiana Rep. Jim Banks tried to explain his support for Trump at a recent town hall, but his constituents were having none of it.
Defending Donald Trump’s wildly unpopular agenda can be a thankless task, even for a Republican congressman representing a red state.
Indiana Rep. Jim Banks found that out this week while holding a contentious town hall meeting with voters at a VFW post in Fort Wayne.
Widely mocked for his positions on the debt, taxes, the government shutdown, and immigration, Banks was met with a wall of laughter when he tried to separate himself from Trump and said voters should follow the president on Twitter to understand his agenda.
“You work for us!” came the cries from some within the crowd of nearly 100 voters. Banks has voted with Trump 93 percent of the time.
Again and again at the Q&A session, locals ridiculed Banks.
People like him have told me my whole life, ‘Don’t vote Democrat because they’re gonna run up the debt,'” said one voter. “And every time I vote for a Republican, they run up debts more than Democrats.”
Banks’ proud support of the recently passed GOP tax bill also did not go over well.
It angers me that you voted for this bill and that the message you are relaying about this bill is misleading at best,” said one Fort Wayne resident. “This bill paints a disastrous economic picture for us average Americans.
Perhaps the most poignant and heated moments of the town hall came when Banks was repeatedly pressed about the fate of nearly one million young undocumented immigrants, or DREAMers, who were brought to the U.S. as young children and who Trump and the GOP are now threatening to deport.
Democrats are trying to get Republicans to support a clean, stand-alone bill to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Barack Obama put in place to protect DREAMers the same program Trump canceled last September.
At the Fort Wayne town hall, that issue tied in with denunciations of Trump’s campaign pledge to build a border wall.
“Americans are not supposed to pay for that wall,” one angry voter stressed to Banks. “Mexico is supposed to pay for the wall. Please do not mess with American tax dollars to build a wall that we did not want.”
That was immediately followed by a constituent who called out Banks’ hypocrisy: “You post a lot about your pro-life views and protecting the sanctity of life. So as a Christian man, how do you justify using the lives of DREAMers as bargaining chips?”
Following loud, boisterous applause, the man continued. “I guess the Jesus I learned about would support a clean DACA bill, without question.”
When Banks responded by suggesting a hardliner immigration bill being sponsored by House Republicans would be the solution, constituents erupted in anger, with one demanding, “What would Jesus do?”