A town hall meeting with U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., slated for Monday in McDowell County was abruptly canceled Friday night after weeks of planning, a spokesman for Sanders said Saturday.
MSNBC planned the event, which was slated for 10 a.m. Monday at the National Guard Armory in Welch, said spokesman Michael Briggs.
MSNBC had been in contact with the National Guard for weeks and got a call after 5 p.m. Friday alerting them that the event was canceled, Briggs said. Because of the late notice, the event will not take place at another venue, Briggs said.
“Bernie plans to come back and I think MSNBC will come too, it just won’t happen on Monday,” Briggs said. “I can say Bernie is obviously very disappointed.”
Kristen Osborne, an MSNBC spokeswoman, said her organization is exploring other locations for future events in West Virginia.
“MSNBC was very much looking forward to this event, and we are very excited to find another venue and date to hold it,” Osborne said. “We think this is an important conversation. It’s something we take seriously.”
Lt. Col. Melissa Shade, a spokeswoman for the state’s National Guard, did not return multiple calls and an email seeking comment. Grant Herring, the press secretary for Gov. Jim Justice, also did not return a phone call.
Sanders visited McDowell County in May last year during his presidential campaign, when he spoke at the Five Loaves & Two Fishes Food Bank in Kimball.
Briggs said Sanders “fell in love” with the people of McDowell County and their courage under adversity during the visit.
Sanders still plans to be in Charleston promoting a new book Sunday at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium. The ticketed event is sponsored by Taylor Books.