A Republican congressman from Texas is facing sharp criticism after telling one of his constituents to “shut up” during a fiery exchange at a town hall over his vote against a bill that aims to stop violence against women.
A cellphone video obtained by The Dallas Morning News captured Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) losing his composure in Frost, Texas, over the weekend after an attendee questions Barton’s decision not to support legislation to combat violence against women.
Barton responds to the question by saying, “On the first bill that I voted against, that’s a true statement, and I voted against it because I think that’s a state issue, not a federal issue."
The comment elicited several loud boos and taunts, including those from a man who says “It’s violence against women, that’s a national issue. That is an issue that impacts everyone everywhere, not only in this country but everywhere.”
Barton frustratingly tries to speak over the boisterous crowd to no avail, leading him to aggressively point at a man in the audience and say “You, sir, shut up.”
That's when the crowd became more enraged.
“What is this? You don’t tell anyone to shut up. You work for us,” another town hall attendee is heard yelling.
The anger spilled onto social media, where several people called Barton out for losing his cool.
"All town hall [sic] begin with ground rules, which include that you must be recognized in order to speak," said Barton in a statement to NBC News. "These are unscripted live meetings. Over the weekend in Frost, one gentlemen continued to speak over myself and many others who were seeking recognition in orderly fashion. I did, however, return to him for the last question of the meeting and allow him the opportunity to voice his concerns."
The heated town hall in Texas is one of several exchanges between GOP legislators and voters frustrated by Trump administration policies.
Last month, angry constituents confronted Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).