NEW HAMPTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley stopped in New Hampton Friday during his “Every County, Every Year” tour through Iowa Counties.
The question and answer session was held at the Chickasaw Wellness Complex and with a crowd of 40 to 50 people.
Participants asked questions ranging from immigration issues to agriculture diversification.
One of the first questions Grassley took was on his proposed bill from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, that could prevent President Donald Trump from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“The president is a business man, he hasn’t been in politics or in the military,” Grassley said. “But, I still think that he is wise enough to know that there’s going to be a big explosion if he fires Mueller, and I think the president thrives on controversy and so he’s going to continue to do what he’s been doing.”
During the session Grassley addressed “blue slips,” the term for when judicial nominees have the support of their home state or state they will be serving.
“The blue slip policy has been in the Senate for 100 years,” Grassley said to reporters. “Generally the blue slip is pretty dispositive in regard to U.S. Attorneys, marshals and district judges. “
Grassley has been accused of ignoring the blue slip policy with judges President Trump has nominated to the 9th and 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Grassley countered that the blue slip doesn’t apply to circuit court judges and the Supreme Court.
“If you just let the senators in one state keep that from happening then it puts a workload on the judges that are already there,” Grassley said.
Grassley answered questions on the proposed tariffs during the town hall and after from reporters about how it can affect Iowa farmers.
Grassley said the United States isn’t close to “the brink” of a trade war with China.
“I still have to worry about it,” Grassley said. “I’ve looked at the markets yesterday and corn’s going up and it hasn’t had an impact yet, which is very surprising to me.”
About three weeks ago there was a drop in soy bean prices, Grassley said.
When asked about North Korea and possible improved relations, Grassley said, “it looks good today, but maybe two months from now I’d give you a different answer.”
“This is the first time the two heads of state are going to sit down,” Grassley said.
Grassley wouldn’t say for sure whether he’d run for re-election in 2022, saying he would know for sure in a few years.
“I’m 84 years old, I have four and half years left,” Grassley said. “I don’t want to be like (Sen. Strom) Thurmond; he served until he was 100 years and 3 months (old) and the last two years he had to have help getting around the senate.”
“The people of Iowa deserve better than that,” Grassley said.