While U.S. Sen. David Perdue spoke to local Chambers of Commerce about Congressional issues at a Chamblee hotel on April 11, protesters outside called for him to stage town halls as part of their opposition to President Trump.

In his speech to about 260 members of the Brookhaven and DeKalb Chambers, Perdue didn’t mention the protesters. But he did support Trump.

U.S. Sen. David Perdue speaks to the Brookhaven and DeKalb Chambers of Commerce April 11 at the Atlanta Marriott hotel in Chamblee’s Century Center. (Evelyn Andrews)

Perdue joked that Trump is not “a choirboy and doesn’t claim to be.” But, Perdue said, he believes Trump can provide the push Congress needs to get momentum on important issues.

“I believe he’s strong enough to force Congress to break through this nonsense and get something done. We cannot waste this opportunity because of partisan politics,” Perdue said.

About 30 protesters outside the Marriott hotel in the Century Center office park said they wanted Perdue to appear in a public town hall forum, not a ticketed private event.

“It doesn’t seem like you should have to be a big contributor or pay $50 to hear what he has planned for Georgia’s future,” protestor Sharmila Nambiar said.

Nambiar said she has also tried to meet with the Republican senator in person, but has only been able to get a meeting with his policy director.

The protesters, some from a group called Resist Trump Tuesdays Atlanta, are part of a nationwide movement of liberal activists who want Republican members of Congress to hold town halls and address criticisms of Trump. A similar activist group recently protested a private event attended by Georgia’s other U.S. senator, Johnny Isakson, and staged an anti-Trump march in Buckhead.

For Perdue’s Century Center appearance, the protesters stayed on Clairmont Road, nearly a half-mile from the hotel, to avoid trespassing at the private office park. They had left before the luncheon ended.

Perdue spoke about his role as a senator and several federal political issues..

“I’m charged to represent everybody, so that means [I] have to listen,” he said.

On several issues, Perdue emphasized that Republicans and Democrats must work together to achieve progress, especially on healthcare laws. The Republicans’ Obamacare replacement law was stalled in late March after top party officials decided to not call a vote on it, as they feared not enough Republicans would support it.

Perdue said he hopes the issue will remain a top priority and be brought up again in the next few weeks, but cautioned Republicans have to be willing to work with Democrats.

“I think we’ve already seen Republicans have committed mistakes not asking for help from the other side,” Perdue said. “No supermajority has produced a decent law. Now its time to sober up.”

More than 90 Georgia counties are down to a single healthcare provider and those may soon be out of business, Perdue said.

Perdue also spoke about his support for strengthening the military and reducing the national debt, as well as his support for Trump.

Michelle Eason, a Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce member, said she enjoyed Perdue’s speech and, unlike the protesters, she wasn’t bothered that she had to pay to hear him speak.

“I think he spoke a lot of truth. We need to work together to address things,” Eason said, adding “I’m glad that he is in the Senate.”