KENNESAW, Ga. -- U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, (R) GA, hosted a passionate, raucous town hall meeting for constituents on the campus of Kennesaw State University, Monday night.
Sen. Isakson is in the state during the August Congressional recess and hosted the public event to take questions. It was his first, in-person town hall meeting since he was elected to his third term this past November.
Before kicking things off, however, Isakson opened the packed town hall by condemning the deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia during violent protests by neo-Nazis, alt-right groups and white nationalists on Saturday. His statement drew a standing ovation from the crowd gathered there.
But, the hour-long event was also full of its fair share of jeers and boos.
Isakson faced more than 600 mostly liberal voters who wanted him to agree with them on issues such as health care, immigration and global warming.
Re-watch the town hall in the video player below. (Mobile viewers, click here to watch.)
Despite areas of disagreement, people thanked him repeatedly for holding the town hall at all, a rarity among most members of Congress these days.
One woman asked Isakson to support more training for police officers in the way they deal with African-American men: "I want to see my son grow up," she confronted him. "I'm terrified for him."
Isakson said that it starts with parenting, not with police. "Parents aren't raising their kids like they should," he said.
The crowd booed, and many shouted, calling on Isakson to support more police training and to condemn what they believe is unjust and illegal racial profiling. A woman raised her voice over the noise, "Do black lives matter?" Isakson heard her question and immediately responded, "All lives matter." The crown booed louder.
Isakson opened the town hall meeting with a statement on the violence in Charlottesville, VA.
"There's no place in the greatest country on the face of this earth for what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend."
The audience erupted and cheers and applause, then gave him a standing ovation.
Isakson continued, and the audience continued to cheer.
"There is no place for the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists, or racism. We can have differences over lots ov things, but there's never going to be a difference over human dignity, the right to life, and the right to live in the freest, greatest country on the face of this earth without fear of intimidation because of your race, your religion, your sex, your national origin, or any other discriminatory factors. We are Americans."
A few minutes later, one man wanted Isakson to go further: "Will you call for the President of the United States to remove confessed Nazis... self-admitted white supremacists, namely [advisors] Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka from the White House? I do not want to pay their salaries anymore. Yes, or no?"
People rose to their feet again, before the man finished, cheering in support of his question.
Isakson began his answer, "No, but..."
Several people shouted their disapproval as Isakson continued. Isakson asked them to let him finish, "Just hold on a minute. I've been very respectful of all of y'all and I'll continue to be. I know what the intent of the question is. I don't stand in any way for any individual that's an anti-Semite, that's a member of the Klan, that's a member of some publication that spews hate or division or anything like that. All you have to do is check the record to see how many times I have risked part of my career to stand up for the right thing to happen. And I will continue to do so.... The President has to stand firm for the decisions he makes. I'm voting for Americans, I'm voting for peace and security, I'm voting against any Nazi or any Ku Klux Klan person.... Period, end of sentence."
All in all, Isakson said he's glad he held the town hall and highly recommends it.
"I hope all 99 of my colleagues will jump in, the water's fine."
Hear from him after the town hall in this press conference:
Photos | Sen. Isakson holds town hall