Marco Rubio on Why He Skips Town Halls: Activists Will ‘Heckle and Scream at Me’

Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing for Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN) nominee for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. Haley, the …
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) says he will not participate in town halls because political activists will “heckle and scream” at him to create a media spectacle for the cameras.

“They are not town halls anymore,” Rubio told CBS Miami on Sunday. “What these groups really want is for me to schedule a public forum, they then organize three, four, five, six hundred liberal activists in the two counties or wherever I am in the state.”

Rubio told CBS Miami that activists are advised to go early to town halls to “take up all the front seats,” citing a list of protesting tips from the Indivisible movement.

“They are instructed to boo no matter what answer I give,” Rubio said. “They are instructed to interrupt me if I go too long and start chanting things. Then, at the end, they are also told not to give up their microphone when they ask questions. It’s all in writing in this Indivisible document.”

Rubio had taken heat over his decision not to participate in town halls and face criticism from people who disagree with his opposition to Obamacare when a union activist and other protesters tracked him down in Miami after his office said that he was traveling to Europe for meetings, Politico reported.

Rubio said he estimates that “80 to 90 percent” of the people who show up at town halls were organized by activists.

“I have no problem justifying my views on these issues. The problem is they are not designed to have a productive engagement,” Rubio said. “They are designed to heckle and scream at me in front of cameras so that Channel 4 and other networks and other stations at night will report.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.