Congresswoman Yells at Constituent in the Worst-Shot Political Video of All Time

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 24 2014 9:31 AM

Congresswoman Yells at Constituent in the Worst-Shot Political Video of All Time

On Friday, the day she officially filed for re-election, North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers got a small problem in the form of the worst tracking video in human history. Someone using the account of the Randolph Tea Party recorded a confusing exchange between Ellmers, who backs some form of immigration reform this year, and a constituent, who decidedly doesn't. If there's local reporting on the town hall, I haven't seen it; Breitbart seems to have been the first outlet to notice the kerfuffle.

In this video, the heart of the thing, Ellmers berates the constituent for talking about immigration without "any damn facts." He seems, to her, to hold a grudge—a "personal issue"—because of a firing in his past. But the congresswoman and the invisible constituent talk past each other, as a crowd sits confused by the vitriol. They murmur as Ellmers tells the constituent "I appreciate you sharing that with me, because now I know where your hatred and vitrol come from."

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The exchange, for some reason, is spread across a few videos.

Ellmers' office hasn't commented on the exchange; I've asked the citizen journalist for details about what the hell was happening. The absence of any image of Ellmers underscores just how lucky she is. Her 2012 upset was made possible after Republican trackers, posing as "just students working on a project," started taping Rep. Bob Etheridge outside of a building and got bear-hugged and grabbed for their trouble. A video of Ellmers in full-on hector mode would clash with her role as an up-and-coming GOP media star. But here, as when Ellmers appeared on Laura Ingraham's radio show and got loud about immigration, there's no visual to go along with the brashness.

UPDATE: And now I have details. There were 10 people in the room talking to Ellmers, representatives of Listen NC and the Randolph Tea Party, groups that had been requesting a meeting for weeks, to talk about immigration. Bob Youngblood, of the Randolph Tea Party, e-mails:

I was at Ellmers's office with 9 other people on Thursday last. I am also on the legislature team for Grass Roots North Carolina. I, along with many others of GRNC.org, have been in numerous elected officials offices in Raleigh, both republican and democrat, never have I we been so rudely and arrogantly treated. The following letter I was a part to and I believe it is a small fraction of the temperament of the meeting. Her adds are blatant lies, she is for the illegals staying and amnesty with a path to citizenship!

And he forwards the e-mail sent to members after the meeting.

Immigration Reformers and Concerned Citizens,
It took me months to setup a meeting in person with Congresswoman Renee Ellmers.  We agreed to change the time three days ago to accomodate her, then today (day of our meeting) an email was sent after 10 am (which I actually saw at 11am) asking for us to move the meeting from Dunn to Asheboro.  I was told by her assistant there was less seating in the Asheboro office so I said to her assistant, some of us can just stand, and I scrambled and contacted all ten attendees who were constituents, some already on their way to Dunn but we met in Asheboro at 3:30 pm.  Congresswoman Ellmers already in Asheboro arrived 17 minutes late and said we had only have 13 minutes to speak with her.  As she arrived she said only 3 persons could meet in her office, even though there were four chairs and plenty of standing room.  I mentioned how we scrambled to meet her in Asheboro with her last minute change and all ten attendees are her consitutents and her reply was, "I am in charge and only three can be in the meeting", so the others had to wait in her small lobby just outside her office and to add insult to injury they closed the door on the 7 constituents.
I have arranged 11 group trips to Washington, DC over the last 12 years to meet with US House members and US Senators from North Carolina to discuss immigration reform, not to mention other trips I made to DC myself and local trips, so I have had a lot of experience meeting with members of Congress.  Today's meeting with Congresswoman Ellmers was the most contemptible meeting with a member of Congress I have taken part in. From the beginning she showed a sense of arrogance and disdain for meeting with us.  If you heard the audio clip from the Laura Ingraham radio show of Laura interviewing Renee Ellmers, today was deja vu.  When she wasn't interrupting me she was constantly changing the subject, with a look of glee in her eye as if she thought she was being clever.  I have studied immigration and immigration policies for nearly 20 years, and she was the most misinformed and uninformed member of Congress I have ever spoken with on the matter of immigration reform.....and that is saying something.   
Just as Congresswoman Ellmers called Laura Ingraham ignorant during their interview, Congresswoman Ellmers went a few steps further by calling me ignorant, a racist, and dense during our meeting.......these insults were sprinkled through our discussion which was about immigration policies and her own statements about immigration reform.  I refrained from any personal name calling.  As we know, these kinds of insults are usually used by those who have weak arguments or are under the age of ten.   
Below is a recap of some of the matters I tried to discuss as she attempted to change the subject approximately every 30 seconds.  Our meeting eventually lasted about 40 minutes.
I stated that NC LISTEN believes we need real enforcement of our immigration laws first without any legal work permits for illegals nor an amnesty.   Ellmers believes we must give legal work permits to illegal immigrants.  She denied stating the following but in an op-ed piece in the Fayetteville Observer on January 18, 2014 she wrote, "only after this legal work status is obtained (by illegals) can they have the opportunity to begin the naturalization process".   The naturalization process is a path to citizenship.  I pointed out again that she wrote this and she denied it again.
I asked her why she was for giving legal work permits to illegal immigrants when we have 20 million citizens in the USA who are either unemployed or are working part-time but want and cannot find a full-time job (also called the U-6 rate) and that the U-6 uneployment rate in North Carolina is near 14%.  Even with her attempting to change the subject, I asked her repeatedly and she NEVER would answer that question.
Not once during our conversation did Ellmers ever say she was concerned or troubled by our high unemployment rate and how citizens are suffering......it was over and over about citizens won't take jobs and why we had to allow illegal immigrants to "earn" legal work permits.  
I mentioned the contacts I get in desperation from people who have lost their jobs to illegals, and she said in effect she didn't believe me, but yet she believes cheap labor industries/companies who tell her they can't find citizens who want to work.  She went on and on about companies telling her citizens won't work and I asked her, given the high real unemployment rate, if she believes most citizens are lazy or won't take non-farm jobs and she dodged that question.  Of course companies who want cheap labor are going to ask her to be weak on immigration enforcement.  She said that since I was attacking some companies for hiring illegal immigrants, I had a grudge against businesses.  I reminded her I worked for a high-tech company for 40 years, but I won't stand by and watch citizens lose jobs to illegal immigrants.  Again she was trying to play a game.   
I was asked to provide ways to stop illegal immigration and I was interrupted repeatedly......she thinks we need to start all over with enforcement ideas.   Of course we enforce few of our immigration laws, so it is enforcement that's missing, not a lack of ideas.
The E-Verify system is but one of many steps but now it is only voluntary, but if Congress required all companies to use it and it was enforced, then it would protect most jobs for citizens......Ellmers said she was for it but wouldn't discuss implementation and she doesn't think it works.   Of course today the companies who hire illegals won't use E-Verify because it's not mandatory and until it is required it won't have near the effect.
As I pressed over and over why can't we give real enforcement a chance as a first step.....she would go off on another tangent.....
After the meeting with Ellmers we all felt that she thinks she is invincible and feels she no longer needs to really listen to conservatives.  
This might be in part because of the group, Americans for a Conservative Direction and FWD.us, significantly funded by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (has committed to spend $50 million on candidates this year to promote more foreign labor to the USA) and other cheap labor advocates paying for ads now running on the radio promoting Renee Ellmers.   Zuckerberg has pledged to spend these big bucks to "sway" the election of candidates who support Comprehensive Immigration Reform (aka amnesty and large increases of foreign labor to the USA).
Please send this email to your friends and associates.
Regards,
Ron Woodard

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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