A local radio station in Louisiana offered a glimpse into preparations leftist agitators made in advance of a raucous town hall meeting featuring US Senator Bill Cassidy, a first-term Republican. Recorded by KPEL radio, a leaked audio offered the recorded voices of anti-Trump activists planning a hostile reception for the Republican at a town hall meeting in Breaux Bridge on February 24.
The audio records that the group of activists was coordinating efforts to sway public opinion to favor the belief that Cassidy’s support for President Donald Trump is unpopular in Louisiana. The group was split into an “inside team” -- that was tasked with occupying as many seats as possible in the 200-person capacity venue -- and an outside team that was told to give “the [media] the coverage they want.” While they described themselves as liberals, the activists were told to dress conservatively and to leave behind at home “any signifier” that could be labeled ”liberal.”
The activists were also instructed to “dominate” the question-and-answer period at the coming town hall, while silencing any attendee deemed “sympathetic” to Cassidy.
Activists laughed about “the poor people of Breaux Bridge” who would be crowded out at the event by the sheer number of anti-Trump attendees. Coverage of the event noted eventually that many members of the public were unable to attend because the venue had exceeded its capacity. Hundreds of people thronged outside the hall.
An organizer that KPEL identified as James Proctor is heard to say on the audio, “Game plan number one is to fill as many seats as we can, right? If it’s all of us in there and the poor people of Breaux Bridge are sitting behind us, well then tough luck for them.” He went on to say, “If we can arrange it so he doesn’t hear one sympathetic question–great. That only magnifies our impact.”
Proctor leads Indivisible Acadiana -- a regional branch of the nationwide leftist Indivisible organization that has organized hostile receptions for Republicans at town hall gatherings across the country. An unidentified activist can be heard on the audio recording, saying: “The Indivisible Guide does say that when you start to lose the meeting, that’s when you boo and hiss.”
On February 24, people starting arriving at the town hall venue at approximately 11:30 a.m. even while the event was scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Senator Cassidy arrived 20 minutes late because he was inspecting tornado damage in New Orleans and was met with a hostile reception.
When Louisiana State chaplain Michael Sprague began to recite an opening prayer, members of the crowd began to heckle. As Sprague began to pray, a man shouted “Amen! Let’s get on with it,” while another shouted, “Pray on your own time. This is our time.” The hall erupted into a chaos of voices and shouting, while some people chanted repeatedly: “Separation of church and state!”
When a veteran attempted to lead the hall in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, there were more jeers as one man shouted “Do your job!” Many hecklers became especially incensed when Cassidy mentioned Donald Trump or Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.