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Steve King town hall meeting

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks at a town hall meeting in Sioux City in August 2010. King on Jan. 4 said he would hold town halls in each of the 4th District's 39 counties in 2019. The first two dates are Thursday and Saturday, but King has not yet released the places or times. 

SIOUX CITY -- Two weeks ago, Rep. Steve King unveiled a schedule for town halls in each of the 39 counties in Iowa's 4th District this year, with the Iowa Republican urging constituents and the media to "save the dates."

But, as of Tuesday night, the embattled congressman still had not released places and times for the first two meetings on Thursday and Saturday, as he had promised at the time of his Jan. 4. announcement.

King's office and top spokespersons did not immediately respond to a series of Journal inquiries about details for this week's meetings, or even if the sessions will take place as scheduled. 

Since listing the 39 dates, King has faced a firestorm of criticism for his comments in a New York Times. In an interview for a story about immigration and race relations, King was quoted as saying, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?"

After a flurry of officials condemned his remarks, House GOP leaders on Jan. 14 stripped King of his committee assignments for the next two years. The following day, the House overwhelmingly approved a resolution intended to rebuke King for the comments. The resolution, which King voted for, called for the chamber to reject white nationalism and white supremacy as “hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”

King has pushed back heavily on the white supremacist and white nationalist charges. In an email last week, he urged supporters to donate to his re-election campaign, casting himself as a victim of a cabal of the "unhinged left" and "NeverTrumpers" who are out to "destroy" him because of his unwavering opposition to illegal immigration.

Unlike many members of Congress, the nine-term incumbent has shunned town halls in recent years, saying he feared out-of-state paid protesters would hijack the meetings and prevent district voters from asking their questions and voicing concerns. He also expressed concerns for his own safety, citing a Republican House leader who was wounded after a gunman opened fire at a baseball practice for GOP House members two years ago in suburban Virginia.

"I do meetings all over the place, with people that request them, that have policy issues that they want to discuss with community leaders. But in this climate, to advertise town hall meetings, just so that protesters have a forum, just doesn't make a lot of sense to me," King told the Journal in 2017.

That's why his Jan. 4 announcement represented an about face, attracting a great deal of local, state and national media attention for committing to 39 meetings in 2019. 

“Town hall meetings are an opportunity for members of the public to express their concerns to me, and for me to deliver my constituents an overview of the work I am doing in Washington on their behalf," he said in a statement.

At the time, King's office said as more details about the town hall schedule become confirmed, they would be distributed via press releases and would be available on his official congressional website at: steveking.house.gov/media-center/press-releases

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County & Education Reporter

Government and education reporter.

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