Congressman Lee Zeldin, a New York Republican, says he's planning on a "tele-town hall" to replace traditional town hall meetings with constituents.
Zeldin, during an interview on CNN's "New Day," said he has plans to hold "a tele-town hall" from 7 to 8 p.m. EST on Thursday, in which he'll "speak to thousands of constituents."
"I've been doing them for years. It's great," he added. "People love that. You get thousands of people on the phone. They literally don't have to leave their own home."
The Republican also said he's planning on having "people come in, walk in off the street, ask questions" next week, during office hours.
"There are a whole lot of people upset, saying they're not meeting with their member of Congress who aren't requesting meetings," Zeldin said. "You have a lot of people asking for town halls with the purpose of disrupting a town hall."
He added that traditional town halls have become too confrontational, that people are being too "disrespectful," for meaningful dialogue.
"What's important to me in those settings is that I'm at least given the opportunity to answer," Zeldin said. "It's turning into political theater. People take their phones out. They want to get their 15 seconds of fame."
He added, "those tactics of shouting down that member one or two words into their answer, it's disrespectful."
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Republicans across the country have encountered opposition and anger at local town hall meetings. President Donald Trump alleged that the angry crowds were planned by "liberal activists."
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, disagreed with the president, telling reporters "it's all legitimate," after one contentious town hall, according to the Times. "If Hillary Clinton had been elected president, there'd be people from the conservative end of the spectrum to probably be doing the same thing."
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