Republican congressman Joe Barton lost his cool with voters at a town hall in Frost, TX, recently, telling one person to "shut up."
Barton got angry when people began asking him to work on legislation about violence against women.
"Given your voting record opposing legislation protecting women from violence, will you make a commitment to us today—make a promise—that you will reach out to Congresswoman Jackie Speier and work with her to see this bill successfully through Congress," an unidentified constituent asked Barton during his March 11 town hall, where the question was met by heavy applause.
Barton replied that he believed laws regarding violence against women were a state, not a federal, issue, earning a lukewarm reaction from some in the crowd, and angry jeers from others.
"It’s violence against women, that’s a national issue,” one constituent yelled. “That is an issue that impacts everyone everywhere, not only in this country but everywhere." It's unclear if this was the same person who pressed the issue in the first place. Another man exclaimed simply "civil rights!"
Barton, visibly annoyed, pointed his finger at the angry attendee, and said "you, sir, shut up."
The crowd wasn't having it, booing Barton after a shocked pause.
"You don't tell anybody to shut up," one man yelled. "You work for us!"
On Facebook, Barton was bombarded with angry messages calling him out for his glib town hall dismissal.
"Guess it's only okay for you to hold Town Halls with people who don't question or disagree with you," one commenter wrote. "Newsflash Mr. Barton: You are a public servant who works for ALL the people in his district. If you don't understand that, then you don't deserve to hold that office. Shame on your disgraceful behavior!"
This is far from Barton's first instance of national political infamy. In 2013, he raised eyebrows by citing the biblical flood story as proof that global warming wasn't a man-made issue. And in 2009, he mused that harnessing wind energy through massive turbines might, in fact, disrupt god's natural method for cooling the Earth, saying:
Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up?
Congressman Barton has yet to publicly respond to this weekend's tense town hall.