DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Lawmakers are getting an earful from voters in their home districts, and some town halls have turned into shouting matches.
At hostile town halls from coast-to-coast, many Republicans have had to field uncomfortable questions about President Donald Trump. The White House says some of these scenes are being manufactured by professional protesters, but most lawmakers say the opposite.
In Ohio, constituents seeking town halls demonstrated at the offices of Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Republican representatives Bob Gibbs, Mike Turner, Bob Latta, and Steve Chabot.
Portman was invited to a town hall-style meeting Thursday in Cleveland. The event was sponsored by "Indivisible Cleveland." He did not attend. Organizers say they'd been asking his office to set a date for a town hall, and finally decided to hold one themselves.
Also on Thursday, the Columbus Dispatch had a report that claimed Portman's office had prevented Democrats from attending a political speech in Fremont.
This all started with the Lincoln Dinner being put on by the Sandusky County Republican Party. Portman was the guest speaker. The Dispatch put out a story of a woman who claims she bought a ticket for $30 but it was returned, she says, because she's registered as a Democrat. She also says she just wanted a chance to have access to her senator as a constituent and can't even leave a voicemail.
Here's what Portman's office had to say about the Dispatch's article: "That is false. Rob was invited as a special guest for an event in Sandusky County, and access to the event was controlled by the Sandusky GOP Party."
The article also claims it's impossible to get ahold of the senator. At 5:45 Thursday evening Cleveland 19 placed a call to Portman's Cleveland office and spoke to a staffer. Without identifying as a news organization, the staffer was willing to take a message from a "constituent" and give it to Portman. Cleveland 19 asked about any availability coming up for the public to speak to the senator and was told there are no public meetings on the schedule.
Portman's office is holding a round table in Cleveland on Friday about the tax code. The public is not invited.
In fairness, Cleveland 19 also looked at Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown's schedule and he also doesn't have any open meetings scheduled in Ohio.