KNOXVILLE, Iowa – A Knoxville school board member has resigned amid a U.S. Secret Service investigation into Facebook comments he made about President Donald Trump.
Knoxville School District Board Member Mike Helle posted to Facebook this week that “Trump … needs to neutralized.
“Trump needs to take a show at Ford’s Theater,” he wrote, according to WHO NewsRadio.
Knoxville Police Lt. Aaron Fuller confirmed to the Knoxville Journal Express that the department received a report of the post and officials spoke with the U.S. Secret Service about it.
“I received a phone call from WHO radio and that’s how I found out about the Facebook comment,” he said. “We have had contact with the Secret Service and we are assisting them.”
WHO NewsRadio posted the message to its website, but Fuller said Thursday that police have not spoken with Helle and have not confirmed that he made the post. The post has since been deleted.
Knoxville Superintendent Cassi Pearson told KNIA Helle resigned in an email to board members around 10 p.m. Thursday night.
“I feel it is in the best interest of the Knoxville School District if I resign from the Knoxville School Board immediately,” Helle’s email read, according to Pearson. “I have enjoyed my 12 years on the board and I know that we have accomplished many positive things.”
Pearson told the Journal Express she was with board president Andrew Schmidt at a middle school choir concert when they both received the text from Helle tendering his resignation, which was followed up by the email.
“I had been notified earlier that he had made a Facebook post as an individual,” Pearson said. “He sent a text tendering his resignation from the school board.”
The post “in no way reflects the feelings of the school district or the school board,” she said. “He has a very strong political view that he is not shy about.”
Helle issued a statement to KNIA that seemed to take responsibility for the post, though not directly.
“I have enjoyed serving on the board … and I know a lot of great things were done by all involved. Knoxville is lucky to have outstanding people who work for the school district,” he said. “I don’t want to be a distraction because there is much heavy lifting left to do. If I could share one important thought with all of your listeners it would be to be careful of what you post online because one comment taken out of a string of back and forth post(s) can and will be taken out of context.”
Helle didn’t elaborate on how his post was allegedly “taken out of context.”
KCCI reports the board is expected to discuss the process for filling Helle’s seat at the next board meeting, on May 22.