Rep. Ross Faces Challenging Crowd at Clermont Meeting

The mood was edgy and angry in a town hall meeting held tonight by Lakeland-based U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, but a New York Times reporter covering the event praised Ross on Twitter for his handing of the “heated, passionate and determined crowd.”

Miami-based reporter Lizette Alvarez contributed 16 paragraphs and a 16-minute video to a roundup article about what constituents told four Republican members of Congress during town hall-style meetings around the country today.

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The New York Times article called Ross “one of the most conservative members of Congress and an enthusiastic defender of Mr. Trump” and noted, “There was little that Mr. Ross could or would say to placate this crowd of mostly Democrats who packed the room.”

It added, “A few supporters of Mr. Ross walked out, saying they were upset that he was unable to talk without catcalls.”

When Ross declared, “We will do a repeal and replace of Obamacare,” several in the audience demanded to know, “What’s the plan?”

A Los Angeles Times reporter covering tonight’s meeting counted 250 people, one comfort dog, 21 questions (three in support of Ross) and 56 minutes elapsed time. He noted that Ross learned “that winning an election with 58% of the vote is no indication of how the crowd will shape up at a town hall.”

The reporter, John Cherwa (a deputy sports editor and adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida), also noted, “Ross stuck to the party script except to say that he didn’t always condone ‘or defend what the president is saying or tweeting.’ ”

Ross’ tweets on tonight’s meeting praised the large turnout as a sign of “what democracy is all about,” thanked a questioner for asking about separation of powers and gave a shout out to the veteran who led the Pledge of Allegiance.