- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rep. Markwayne Mullin is facing backlash for telling constituents during an Oklahoma town hall Tuesday that the idea they pay his salary is “bullcrap.”

The Oklahoma Republican told the crowd in Jay that he “paid enough taxes” as the owner of multiple businesses in order to pay his own salary.

“You said you pay for me to do this. Bullcrap. 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,” Mr. Mullin said in a video of the exchange. “I do it as an honor and a service.”

After several audience members began to object, he said, “I’m just saying this is a service for me, not a career, and I thank God this is not how I make my living.”

Mr. Mullin owns several companies under the Mullin Plumbing umbrella, the Tulsa World reported. A spokeswoman for the congressman said he was referring to the federal taxes that he and his businesses have paid prior to his being in office.

“Like all business owners, Congressman Mullin pays his taxes, which contribute to congressional salaries,” Amy Lawrence told Tulsa World.

SEE ALSO: Markwayne Mullin, U.S. congressman, says taxpayers aren’t his boss

“The congressman reiterates in the video that his work as the representative of the Second District of Oklahoma is a service,” Ms. Lawrence said. “His aspiration is to be a career legislator and not a career politician. He is not, nor does he ever aspire to be, a career politician. His priority will always be to serve his constituents to the best of his ability.”

Mr. Mullin canceled a town hall later Tuesday in Tahlequah due to safety concerns.

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen an escalation of protesters at congressional town halls across the nation,” he said in a statement. “It is my intent to provide a safe environment for all attendees which is why we have established protocols at each of our town halls to ensure each person’s voice can be heard. Despite working with the venue, we could not reach an agreement using our protocols that guaranteed the safety of everyone, so I chose to cancel the town hall after much consideration.”

He said the Tahlequah town hall would be rescheduled “as soon as we can secure a new venue and date.”

Mr. Mullin resumed his town hall meetings Wednesday in Stigler.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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