Crist criticizes Trump administration during first town hall

Charlie Crist was highly critical of the Trump administration on Saturday.

ST. PETERSBURG -- In his first town hall since being elected, Congressman Charlie Crist addressed a crowd of hundreds at USF St. Pete.

He touched on many of the issues gripping the nation, including the treatment of veterans and education.

But the issue that got him most fired up was all the talk of ties between Russia and the Trump administration.

“What did (the Russians) do? What did they hack?" Crist asked.  

“What happened there has the opportunity to shatter the very foundation of American democracy.”

Crist repeated calls for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign following reports that Sessions spoke with a Russian official during the presidential campaign but claimed he didn't.

“Couldn't remember what they talked about, but they didn't talk about the election in the middle of the campaign," Crist said.

He also took on the Muslim travel ban issue.

“I do not support that approach. It's seven nations today; what about tomorrow? What about next week?”

The crowd was much calmer than many seen in other events across the country. That was until one man, David McKalip, spoke up against the Affordable Care Act.

McKalip is a St. Pete neurosurgeon and opponent of Obamacare. He was heavily criticized in 2009 for forwarding an email depicting President Barack Obama as a witch doctor. He profusely apologized, but still spoke up Saturday against the health care law. 

“I came out today because the Congressman needs to hear at least one voice from the 48 percent of people who did not vote for (Trump) saying that they want Obamacare repealed.”

Jim Jackson disagreed with McKalip.

“He's a very outspoken, right-winged flame thrower and he didn't even put his question in,” Jackson noted.

Most people in the crowd were just happy Crist showed up to answer them directly, something they say Senator Marco Rubio needs to do as well.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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