Rep. Lance town hall event draws packed house, protesters

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th District) held a second town hall Saturday, just days after his first one erupted in protests, and once again he presided over a packed house.

Saturday's event was held at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg. Lance was met with demonstrators before he even entered the building. Crowds gathered outside with signs to protest President Donald Trump's administration and policies.

Inside the event, Lance took questions and spoke out about issues including the Affordable Care Act, which President Trump and other Republicans have vociferously vowed to repeal. Lance said he doesn't want anyone to lose coverage, but said he does want the act to be repaired.

Lance also said he disagreed with the White House's decision Friday to ban specific news organizations, including the New York Times and CNN, from a press briefing.

The crowd was particularly riled when discussion turned to the role of presidential advisor Stephen Bannon, the former Brietbart News executive chair, on President Trump's National Security Council. Lance said he hopes the president's new national security adviser will "take the lead" on the National Security Council, and will "ensure that the president is given the best advice possible."

Lance added that he opposes any view that the U.S. should be soft on Russia, but he was shouted down by the crowd who demanded to know what he would do about it.

After the event concluded, Lance said he tries to approach the town hall events with class and respect, and said he will hold more events in the future.

It comes as other Republican lawmakers across the country are opting out of such events or are holding telephone-based town halls because of a spike in protesters and angry crowds demanding answers about Trump policies.

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