Neither Rep. Steve Stivers nor Pat Tiberi showed up to town hall meetings in their home districts this week. Among Republicans, they were in good company.
After several town hall meeting with Republican representatives became contentious, a number of Republicans decided to leave early or skip entirely.
On Wednesday, Tiberi and Stivers were invited to their own town halls to discuss the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Tiberi represents the 12th district in Central Ohio, and Stivers represents the 15th district just below Franklin County.
Both congressmen confirmed that they were unavailable, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Tiberi said he's willing to talk to anyone about their concerns, but just not in this setting.
“I’ll meet with anybody and talk to anybody on how we can improve our healthcare system,” Tiberi said on Friday. “I'm not going to be party to a debate on having an embarrassing shouting match that can be broadcast on TV and nationally. It doesn't help where we are today.”
— Ohio SQ (@OhioSQ) February 23, 2017
Although Tiberi didn't attend, a large number of constituents from District 12 showed up to the meeting, anyway. On Twitter, several were active in critiquing Tiberi, and posted pictures of residents posing with a cardboard cutout of Tiberi they used in his absence.
A video posted from the meeting shows the crowd breaking into a chant of, "Where is Pat?"
— emy cahalin (@CahalinEmy) February 23, 2017
Tiberi says, though, that the town hall meeting he missed would not have been a good use of his time.
“Of the town hall meetings that have taken place thus far, none have been productive," Tiberi said. "I have spent dozens and dozens of hours with constituents talking about healthcare.”