'Coffee with Cramer' confrontation

May 12, 2017

US rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) at a "Coffee with Cramer" town hall in Mandan (5-11-17).
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A town hall meeting in Mandan with Congressman Kevin Cramer turned confrontational  Thursday afternoon – leading to a brief physical altercation between two audience members.

It began just after a woman told an emotional story about her young daughter having health problems and numerous medical procedures. She was concerned that the bill designed to replace the Affordable Care act wouldn't help her situation out. Then a man – who had been verbally confronting Cramer about the health care bill and tax cuts – took out his wallet, grabbed some cash and stuck it in Cramer’s chest.

"Here -- take all my money, give it to that woman, and raise my taxes," the man shouted. "And tax the billionaires. Don't be pandering to the billionaires."

"That's too far," Cramer said.

Another man from the audience grabbed the first man around the neck. Two Mandan police officers who were there escorted the two men out of the room.

"I don't want this to be confrontational," Cramer told reporters after the event. "His behavior wasn't just potentially dangerous. He was dominating, and no one else could participate."

Cramer said in some respects, it's just as well that the man did something that got him thrown out.

"It would have been hard to go on," Cramer said.