During the presidency of Donald Trump, Republican members of Congress have dealt with some raucous and contentious town halls, even in the reddest of red districts, as local activists have organized voters to confront and engage their representatives.
At one forum earlier this week, a GOP House member decided to let his constituents know that despite what they may think, their taxes don’t pay his salary.
Speaking to voters in Jay, Oklahoma, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) pushed back when members of the audience said they had paid for him to be there, obviously referring to his congressional salary being paid via taxes.
“You say you pay for me to do this — bullcrap,” the Oklahoma rep said. “I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got there and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go.”
Following objections from the crowd, the congressman attempted to clarify, stating that “this is a service” for him and that it wasn’t how he makes a living.
According to a spokesperson for Mullin, the lawmaker — who owns several companies — was ” referencing the federal taxes that he and his businesses have paid to the government over the years, prior to his being in office.” Since he is a successful business owner who pays his taxes, those taxes “contribute to congressional salaries,” the spokesperson added.
The Jay town hall wasn’t the only time he claimed he is doing this all as a service and isn’t getting anything out of it financially. In a video that was taken at another location, Mullin says he is “paying more taxes inside my company and personally than I’ll ever receive from Congress.”
Mullin is currently in his third term in office.