Gabby Giffords Shuts Down Congressman Who Used Her 2011 Shooting as Excuse to Ditch Town Hall

“I was shot on a Saturday morning. By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public.”

Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/ZUMA

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Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona Democratic congresswoman who was shot during a “Congress on Your Corner” event in 2011, slammed Republicans on Thursday for failing to show up to town hall meetings with their constituents out of fear of facing protesters.

“I was shot on a Saturday morning,” Giffords wrote in a statement. “By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public. Ron Barber—at my side that Saturday, who was shot multiple times, then elected to Congress in my stead—held town halls. It’s what the people deserve in a representative.”

“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage,” she continued. “Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”

The sharp words were a direct response to a controversial statement released earlier by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), in which he invoked Giffords’ shooting to defend his decision not to meet with his constituents.

“Threats are nothing new to me, and I have gotten my share as a felony judge,” Gohmert said. “However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed—just as happened there.”

He also echoed President Donald Trump’s previous and unfounded claim that “paid” groups were disrupting the Republican town halls.

A number of the protests this week have gained national attention, after thousands of people aired a wide-range of grievances aimed at their elected officials, and shouted chants such as “Do your job!” Complaints have ranged from Republican plans to repeal Obamacare, the selection of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, and the party’s unwillingness to properly investigate Trump’s ties to Russia and myriad conflicts of interest.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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