On Sunday afternoon, Rep. Katie Porter of California held her first in-person town hall in more than a year. At the start of the outdoor event held in a park, Porter stressed to the several hundred people in attendance that she wanted to keep things family-friendly and asked that people keep their voices down and have a respectful conversation. In a tweet promoting the event, called “Policy in the Park,” Porter stressed kids and teens were welcome to attend. According to the Los Angeles Times, however, a small group of far-right Trump supporters couldn’t seem to follow the rules—and eventually, police had to intervene to break up a physical fight. 

Protesters interrupted Porter as she spoke, calling her names like “Carpetbagger Katie” and “Corrupt Katie Porter.” Supporters defended Porter, chanting her name in response. According to the Times, some Porter supporters approached the Trump supporters and a fight broke out, including punches. Porter herself reportedly hustled over to protect an older woman who was close to the violence. You might be wondering: Why were these people at the town hall to begin with? Let’s dig in below.

In the end, one Porter supporter was arrested and released after the Irvine Police Department intervened and separated the groups. If you’re wondering how and why this group of Trump supporters appeared at Porter’s rally, Talking Points Memo reports that far-right congressional hopeful Nick Taurus, who plans to run against Porter in the 2022 midterm elections, made an Instagram post calling for supporters to confront Porter. 

The caption of the post, originally shared on Thursday, describes Porter as a “far-left ideologue supported by Bay Area academics, the billionaire class and foreign lobbies!” and says her policies are “awful” for the district. Since the town hall, Taurus alleged on Instagram that he and his followers were “attacked by rabid leftists” and were assaulted by the left “for no reason.”

In a 19-minute video posted to Instagram, Taurus also alleged that Porter took questions that were “pre-selected” and therefore, in his perspective, wasn’t listening to all constituents. He expressed chagrin that while he could not withhold his tax dollars to avoid paying Porter’s salary, she could refuse to hear from all constituents in the 45th district.

In a statement to CNN, Porter said in part: “At our town halls, we take steps, such as putting all questions into a bingo ball spinner, so that we hear all voices, not just the loudest ones.”

She expressed her disappointment in the actions of a “small but vocal” group of attendees who “created unsafe conditions” at the event. “While I absolutely respect their right to disagree, their disturbance disrespected all the families who attended and were ready to engage in a thoughtful, civil, and safe way,” Porter said in her statement.

You can check out a brief clip from the town hall below.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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