Sen. Tom Cotton faced an angry reception at a town hall forum in the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks. The crowd of 2,200 people filled the Springdale High School auditorium to capacity Wednesday to pepper the conservative Arkansas Republican with questions about everything from immigration and health care reform to President Donald Trump's ties to Russia.
Placards dotted the crowd bearing such slogans as "Refugees Welcome," "Stop Trump Or Lose our Votes" and "We Need Those Latinos." Two supportive placards were visible, a Trump-Pence campaign sign and a "Women for Cotton" placard.
The crowd chanted, "This is what democracy looks like" outside the Pat Walker Performing Arts Center before being admitted and seated. Springdale police on hand to calm several heated exchanges between those waiting in line.
When Cotton opened the event by asking the crowd to join him in the Pledge of Allegiance, the crowd complied, emphasizing the last words "for all." The event, which saw Cotton take questions from booing members of the audience, was sought by a Northwest Arkansas group called Ozark Indivisible - which picketed Cottons' Springdale office last month.
Cotton addressed a range of questions from constituents who expressed anger at President Donald Trump and Congressional Republican policies on refugees, immigrants, healthcare and a range of other issues. One constituent, Kati McFarland of Fayetteville, who said she suffered from a rare medical condition, questioned the Republican Senator on the plans for continuing coverage of people who’ve benefited from the Affordable Care Act.
"Will you commit to replacements in the same way that you have committed to repeal?" she asked.
"Everyone in this room has been hurt or helped by Obamacare," Cotton said.
The crowd booed, many shouting they had only been helped by it.
The event came a day after Arkansas Third District Congressman Steve Womack met a similar, but less sizable, angry crowd at a town hall in West Fork.
Video of the entire town hall meeting: