There wasn’t an empty seat to be found at the Gainesville Public Safety Building Wednesday evening.
Republican Congressman Doug Collins hosted a town hall to hear from residents on issues like health care and tax reform. But unlike his past town halls, this one featured grave concerns.
“You are dealing with a pestilent dictator in North Korea who simply doesn’t want to play by the norms or the standards,” Collins said, referring the President Kim Jong Un. “I think we need to be concerned about it. Though, I think we’re taking the proper steps.”
The Gainesville Republican is one of only three lawmakers in the state holding town hall meetings during the August recess. While Collins worries about the leader of North Korea, local resident Bob Maltzahn worries about the leader of this country.
“We’ve got the wrong man at the top,” said Matlzahn, “It’s just very dangerous in my opinion.”
President Donald Trump’s strong language and threats toward North Korea didn’t sit well with a lot of the people in the crowd. That included Carol Bollinger, a conservative Republican.
“It was a bit too much,” Bollinger said, “with all these nukes, and the world today, we need to be careful with our wording.”
Bollinger said her husband is a retired Marine and her nephew is currently active duty overseas. When asked about President Trump’s comments about North Korea, Collins said that while it was out of the ordinary, he’s glad to hear some tough talk.
“You know in diplomatic circles that could be concerning," he said. "But I think it also presents the fact that we’re not going to be pushed around like we have been for 20-something years by the regime in North Korea.”
Congressman Collins said he ultimately hopes China will step up and put some diplomatic pressure on North Korea.