One hour into a loud, contentious town hall meeting in his home state of Utah, Congressman Jason Chaffetz was asked two simple questions by a young girl named Hannah Bradshaw. The first was about the environment: “What are you doing to help protect our water and air for our generations and my kids’ generations?” The second was just a bit more broad: “Do you believe in science?”
Asking the sitting congressman if he believes in science is sadly a relevant question. Chaffetz has called global warming “a farce,” and just this week co-sponsored a bill to abolish the Department of Education. He also recently proposed a bill that would have transferred ownership of federal public lands to the states, making them easier to sell. (He swiftly withdrew that bill after it sparked public outrage.)
So it’s not surprising that, instead of saying anything remotely resembling the words “I believe in science,” Chaffetz deflected hard enough to cause whiplash. Luckily, the crowd wasn’t having it. One woman in particular can be heard loudly repeating the words “ANSWER THE QUESTION,” and so Chaffetz was goaded into responding to Bradshaw.
Utah Congressman Chaffetz gets totally owned by 10 year old girl's sick burn about science, refuses to answer her question & crowd goes wild pic.twitter.com/FxKUM2TklY— Aaron Stewart-Ahn (@somebadideas) February 10, 2017
Chaffetz started with an empty statement that only a career politician could think would play well in front of a high school auditorium packed to the brim with frothing citizens: “What is thrown into our air, what is thrown into our water, obviously has an effect on our environment.” He was then met with a holy chorus of boos when he said he supported an “all of the above energy strategy” that includes coal as “an important part of that future.”
That’s where the clip above ends, but Chaffetz didn’t stop there. The Salt Lake Tribune live-streamed the entire event on Facebook, and if you pick up the exchange over there you’ll be treated to Chaffetz continuing to ignore Bradshaw’s questions while propping up muddy arguments like electric cars being dirty — “There’s a lot of people who want to move to electricity. Well how in the world do you think electricity is generated?” — and how solar farms are destroying wildlife.
Chaffetz endured another 15 minutes of the town hall before literally being booed off the stage.