Roskam: Trump should refocus 'struggling' agenda on health care, taxes

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam on Wednesday reiterated his support for repealing and replacing Obamacare and changing the federal tax code and said President Donald Trump needs to refocus his "struggling" agenda around those issues.

Roskam, a Wheaton Republican, was speaking in advance of a lunchtime address in Palatine hosted by several suburban chambers of commerce.

"There's elements of reforming the tax code and repealing and replacing Obamacare that are good ideas, but without question there are distinctions and I think he's obviously struggling right now," Roskam said of Trump. "My advice would be to put the Twitter account down and focus on the core themes that the American public has an expectation that we get done. We've got a health care system that really needs a lot of attention and a tax code that's desperately broken."

Roskam also chided Trump for being "dismissive" of the Russian election hacking investigation.

"Obviously, there's a concern about Russian intervention in the American election process," he said. "There's an investigation there that's important and ongoing."

When asked by an audience member if he would vote to impeach Trump if evidence showed collusion with Russia, Roskam replied, "I'm not going to get ahead of any sort of question like that."

"We'll let the facts and the investigation lead to a conclusion. And common sense dictates that you would preclude judgment on anything that you have an official action. That's like asking a juror what's your opinion about a particular situation when you haven't heard any testimony."

About three dozen protesters waving banners and chanting gathered outside the Palatine banquet hall where Roskam was speaking.

The protesters complained Roskam has not held public town halls or other forums with residents of his district for years but instead sticks to friendlier crowds like chambers, GOP gatherings, or telephone conferences for people who sign up on his campaign website in advance.

"It's insulting to assume we are not capable of engaging in civilized discourse," said Carolynne Funk of the group Resist the Sixth. The 6th District Roskam represents stretches from central DuPage County through eastern Kane County to the Barrington area.

David Mork, a Roskam spokesman, said the congressman has no forums on his schedule but will continue meeting in smaller settings with constituents and supporters.

"We have found more productive conversations in smaller group settings," Mork said.

Roskam said he disagrees with the president on other issues, such as funding of Great Lakes rehabilitation programs.

"When he called for the near elimination of Great Lakes restoration funding, I said that's something we can't abide and we're going to be successful in restoring that funding," Roskam said.

At least five Democrats are vying to run against Roskam next year in the 6th, which voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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  Protesters march at an appearance Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam Wednesday in Palatine. Mark Welsh/
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