Interviews

Rep. Scott Taylor urges calm demeanor at town hall events

On 'Your World,' the Virginia congressman says it is important that people have a seat at the table

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, I want to show you a story of two different Republican town hall meetings. What's gotten to be sort of like common of late is, well, a disruption like this one.

Take a look.    

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS:  ... makes America great.  Love, not hate, makes America great.  Love, not hate, makes America great.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO:  All right.  You have got throngs showing up.  They're angry.  They don't even necessarily want to hear what you have to say if you're the congress man or woman hosting the event.

Then there's this, a former Navy SEAL, Virginia Republican Congressman Scott Taylor. He had a different approach to his town hall meeting.  Take a look.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. SCOTT TAYLOR, R-VIRGINIA:  Calm down.  Calm down.    

(CROSSTALK)

TAYLOR:  Hold on.  

(CROSSTALK)

TAYLOR:  Hold those up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO:  You know, it didn't get that bad, and maybe owing to the fact that he's a former Navy SEAL.  And he just kept the cool and kept the calm, and they got to discussing things in a rational way, which is doable in this very superheated environment.  

Congressman Scott Taylor joining us right now.  

Good to have you, sir.  

TAYLOR:  Good afternoon, Neil.  It's always great to be with you.  

CAVUTO:  That has got to be a little unnerving.  And yet we have seen so many unnerved, to the point of outright leaving under security escort.  

So, it has gotten out of control.  When it got raucous, what did you do? What was your intent?  

TAYLOR:  Well, our third town hall was last night.  

We had no -- no problems whatsoever, not even really any shouting, except for -- you know, I think -- let me first say, it's important that people have a seat at the table.  It's important that people are respected, that their voice is heard.  

You have to take precautions for safety concerns.  We had some visual things.  We had some things that weren't seen there to make sure that not only our people were safe, but also the people that are in the town hall itself, because that's the main concern.  

So, there are certainly techniques on where people ask questions, how you get them to ask questions.  For example, instead of just giving the microphone to a crowd, we had people write it on index cards.  And, randomly, we would pull out, pull out there, and we would answer the questions.  

Now, that being said, you have people who -- you would have the crowd, because largely this crowd is opposed to my policies and the president's policies.  They would shout if they didn't like something or disagree with something.  And that's fine.  

That's completely fine.  You did have a couple people -- we had a couple people that are actually from the local Democrat Party who were trying to make people cheer and rabble-rouse, if you will.  

And those kind of folks, you need to isolate them, because they're -- you know, energy happens really quickly.  

CAVUTO:  Well, how do you isolate -- how do you isolate them?  

TAYLOR:  Call them out.  Call them out.  

I'm from here, right?  So, I know the people in that party.  And I can see them start to try to get the crowd to shout -- chant unnecessarily, not even for policies, but just chant.

CAVUTO:  But are they part of your district, Congressman?  Are they allowed to be there or is something -- we always get these reports.  

TAYLOR:  Yes.  

CAVUTO:  I don't know what is true, where people just sort of flood these events and they're not even from the said district of the congress man or woman.  

TAYLOR:  Well, we were certainly -- you have to be careful, of course.  You want everybody to participate.  

There are -- sometimes people get left out, of course.  But I didn't see any paid protesters.  I'm not aware of that.  There were some organic folks that have never been involved before, which is good.  That's a good thing.  

But when I see somebody that is specifically trying to cause a problem, I will call them out, because that's not helpful for everybody.  And the whole crowd sees what they're doing, because, look, it's -- calm is contagious, but so is the opposite.  So, it doesn't take much for the crowd's emotion to be -- to go crazy.  

And when the whole crowd is cheering when they don't agree with you, you just let them vent.  You let them vent and not try to talk over them.

CAVUTO:  Yes, I noticed you were doing that.  

But a lot of your colleagues, Congressman, have had it with this and being set up or becoming a pinata.  So, some have canceled it.  In the case of one New Jersey congressman, I think he is entertaining only telephone questions.  I'm not sure of the details on that, so, please don't hold me to that, but that they're getting twice shy by these developments.  

What do you think of that?  

TAYLOR:  Well, you know, let me first say, of course -- and I spoke to a lot of members of Congress.  And there are legitimate safety concerns.  And that's something that they have to make sure that they're equipped and everything is and people will be safe for that.  

But what I will say is I think that we should listen to folks.  We should be out there and talk to them and let them vent.  I will tell you that I had three town halls.  And each one of them was calmer and calmer.  

So, you had the first people who had to get it all out and go crazy and stuff like that.  And last night, you had none of that, like zero of that. So, I think that it's waning, of course.

Now, that could change depending on what happens, of course, in the environment.  But I think that we should talk to folks.  We should see them be -- let them see us and listen to them.  And part of this job that we signed up for is to listen to people who disagree with us, right?  

CAVUTO:  That's exactly right.

TAYLOR:  We represent a lot of people with a lot of diverse opinions.  

CAVUTO:  All right, both sides could learn a thing or two.

Congressman, thank you very, very much.  Good seeing you.

TAYLOR:  Thank you, Neil.  

CAVUTO:  And thank you for your service to this country.  All right.  

TAYLOR:  My pleasure.  Thank you.  

CAVUTO:  There's a way to do this, so that everyone can feel that their needs and their comments are being addressed.  He might have just found it.  

END

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