As hundreds of protesters gathered at the Montana state capitol for a speech from Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) on Tuesday, the Republican lawmaker postponed his address under two hours before he was scheduled to speak.
Daines will instead give a speech on Wednesday, and his office said that the delay had nothing to do with the protest, according to Montana Public Radio.
When the senator canceled his speech, the crowd of protesters gathered at the capitol let out boos, the Associated Press reported.
— Thom Bridge (@TGBridge) February 21, 2017
“What a coward!” Katherine Haque-Hausrath, who helped organize the protest, told the AP. “If he doesn’t listen to us now, he can listen to us in 2020 in the election.”
The protesters came to Daines speech to call on the senator to hold a town hall. He held a telephone town hall last week, which some residents believe was insufficient.
“People need to be able to see their senators face to face, ask questions and have a conversation,” one of the protesters, Al Beaver, told the AP.
Another protester, Erna Smeets, told Montana Public Radio that she was also unsatisfied with Daines’ telephone town hall.
“I listened to the whole thing. It was just a long period of Senator Daines telling us how wonderful he was, but not answer questions,” Smeets said.
Josh Manning, who spoke at the rally protesting Daines, said that he considers the senator’s postponement of his speech a victory for the protesters.
“Take this from a veteran, this is a win. A sitting Senator cancels a speech because we showed up on the capitol steps. That’s people power,” he said, according to Montana Public Radio.