SIOUX CITY -- U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has announced Wednesday he will postpone one of two planned meetings, but hold his first town hall meeting of the year on Saturday in Primghar.
A morning release from King's office said the first of scheduled town hall meetings in each of the 39 Iowa 4th congressional district offices will be held in O'Brien County. The event is open to the public, and will be held for an hour, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Primghar Community Building, 215 First Street SE.
The release said the kickoff event, which had been first announced to be held on Thursday, will be postponed, due to "recently announced changes in the House of Representative’s voting schedule."
This was the first word from King's team on the timing and place of the town hall meetings, since King on Jan. 4 announced he would hold the events throughout the year. King's office and top spokespersons had not responded to a series of Journal inquiries about details for this week's meetings.
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.
In the two weeks after King made that town halls announcement, he has become part of a large national news cycle.
Republican leaders voted Jan. 14 to take away all of his assignments for the next two years. Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy cited King's comments in a Jan. 10 New York Times story that "call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity."
On Jan. 15, the House approved a resolution designed to rebuke King for the comments. The resolution 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.”
Additionally, King already has a 2020 congressional opponent.That is coming from the same party, no less, as a fellow Republican, state Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull, said two weeks ago that he's running against King.
King has pushed back heavily on the white supremacist 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.
In the email, King tied himself to President Donald Trump, noting the Times "relentlessly and dishonestly attacks" the Republican president and now is "coming after me by shamelessly twisting my words, quoting me out of context, and using their Leftist comrades in the media to parrot their false talking points."
In the New York Times story, King was quoted as saying, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?"