Roskam meets with Republicans in Palatine, ignores 400 protesters

About 400 protesters jeered U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton outside in freezing temperatures on Saturday while he met with about 100 members inside the Palatine Township Republican Organization office in Palatine.

Palatine police made one arrest but declined to provide the protester's name or details of any charges.

The six-term Republican, who has been supporting President Donald Trump on repeal-replace of the Affordable Care Act, the immigration executive order, taxes and other issues, did not go outside by the protesters and instead mingled with his party members.

“We're trying to get Roskam to listen to us,” said Laina Stilwell of Wheaton and a member of the Indivisible DuPage group against Trump.

“We've called Roskam several times and filled out the online forms, but they tell us that he's not taking appointments,” said protester Lisa Siemer of Wheaton. “He holds these town-hall meetings where he talks on the phone to constituents who submit their questions in advance. We want him to hold a meeting face-to-face with us, where we can talk to him.”

The 6th District congressman talked to the Republican organization's members and then took questions on index cards read aloud by Republican Palatine Township Committeeman Aaron Del Mar. Roskam reiterated his support of Trump's order to repeal and partially replace the ACA, a 60-day look-back at legislation signed in the last 60 days of President Obama's term, and the likely reduction of business regulations and taxes, among other issues.

“There are going to be really substantive changes to fix the economy,” Roskam said.

Roskam said that what Republicans plan to change in ACA ultimately will be in separate bills.

“We plan to build it from the bottom up,” Roskam said. “We don't want one big bill. It's not going to be in one whole perfect thing. That's an illusion, a unicorn. We see the ACA replacement in a number of things we'll introduce.”

As for sanctuary cities, where local officials don't cooperate with federal law officers on immigration, Roskam said that such cities cannot continue to defy the federal government and still expect funding.

“Their life is going to change,” he said to group applause.

During the meeting, protesters continued to chant outside, asking Roskam to talk with them.

The groups included 6th District of Illinois — Holding Peter Roskam Accountable, Action 6th District Illinois, Palatine After March Action Group, and Indivisible DuPage of Wheaton, among others. Most chants were anti-Roskam, anti-Trump and for democracy, while some held the rainbow flag representing all sexual orientations or signs against banning Muslims.

After the meeting, Roskam left through the back door.

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  U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton Saturday talked to members of the Palatine Township Republican Organization in Palatine amid 400 protesters outside his support of President Trump. Anna Marie Kukec
Palatine police arrest a protester Saturday outside the Palatine Township Republican Organization office in Palatine while U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam was inside the office talking to organization members. COURTESY OF SANFORD MORGANSTEIN
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