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Steve King: ‘I Appreciate the Scrappiness’ of Trump

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Representative Steve King (R-IA) stated that he appreciates Donald Trump’s “scrappiness” on Wednesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “New Day.”

King said, “I would say to Donald Trump, I appreciate the scrappiness of him when he is — when he’s attacked by other people, he counterattacks and plunges forward and he delivers more facts to support the statement that he’s made. Now it’d be nice if we could always talk nice about these things, and couch these things in terms, but I’ve done that a lot, but I never get quoted…and sometimes you have to say it real plain so people understand it. You know, I heard that Donald Trump just on Saturday night, here in Iowa make a statement, that he pointed out about how many of these kids that are coming into the United States illegally from Central America are sexually violated and raped, he said 80%. I’ve been down to the border and checked across these places, the number I come back with is 75% are sexually abused on the way to the United States. So, I’d say in Donald Trump’s defense, somebody’s doing that to these kids that are being raped and abused. And, when they’re coming across Mexico, it’s a reasonable assumption to conclude the people doing that are Mexicans.”

Anchor Chris Cuomo responded that “saying that someone is raped on their way immigrating to America is different than saying they are a rapist. You get the distinction. And saying that you care about border security is one thing, saying that the people who come across this border are rapists, druggies, and criminals is not just statistically untrue, but just unfair on some level. Don’t you agree with that?” King answered, “Well, I think what happens is that it gets distorted, perhaps a little bit, on both sides of this.”

Cuomo interjected, “But that’s what he said, Congressman. And then when he was given a chance, to, you know ‘Hey, do you want to say something else, do you want to take back what you just said about calling most Mexican immigrants these things?’ He said ‘No, I’m 100% right.'”

King argued, “Chris, he didn’t say most Mexicans were rapists. He said they are, he’s speaking generally speaking of the criminals that are doing this. And I’d go back to this point. I have — go down there, I talk to the people that are working with these children that are coming across. I’ve walked through these transit places where we’ve built buildings down there to house them. And I ask the workers that are working with them, ‘What percentage are abused, what percentage are raped?’ They tell me 75%. Donald Trump says his numbers are 80. That’s not very far apart. So, somebody is doing that. You can’t be a rape victim without having a rapist.”

Cuomo stated King was assuming that other immigrants who are committing these assaults and abuse, which he argued is “misleading.” And “you know that immigrants are five times less likely to be in prison than native people here. So, to say that they’re mostly criminals –.” King then jumped in, “Well, I don’t know about that. That would surprise me when 30% of our prison population are criminal aliens.” Cuomo answered, “Or that they’re people who are in jail for being illegal immigrants here as opposed to what they did here in committing crimes.”

The discussion then turned to the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, King declared he was “flabbergasted” by the decision, “for them to cite the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause in the 14th Amendment, Chris that was ratified in 1868. For the supreme court to take the position that somehow the people that voted to ratify the Constitution — or ratify 14th Amendment in 1868 were planning that we would somehow come to the realization they’d written same-sex marriage rights into that. I will say, no one who voted to ratify that 14th Amendment gave that a thought, or if they happened to give it a thought, which is very unlikely, they weren’t thinking that they were writing language in there that would do such a thing.”

Cuomo argued back, “Well, you could say the same thing about race…and anti-miscegenation laws. They were unpopular. People voted to keep blacks and whites from marrying together, and eventually the court found, that, no, they count as people, obviously with equal rights under the Constitution.”

King answered, “you could say that about race, Chris, but we had the Dred Scott decision, and the people, at the same time — in 1868 ratified the 13th Amendment and the 14th Amendment to end slavery, and make sure there [were] equal rights for people, all people, all God’s children who, had immutable characteristics, not self-proclaimed characteristics, but immutable characteristics, and that’s the distinction here.”

Cuomo then asked, “You’re saying that being gay is not an immutable human characteristic and race is, right? That’s what you’re saying.”

King responded, “That’s correct. And once you cross that line, and there are no — nothing but immutable characteristics and constitutionally-defined protection in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and that is when you cross that line, you get into hate crimes, you get into self-proclaimed behaviors or inclinations. Then, that’s within the person. They make that claim…it can’t be independently verified, and it could be willfully changed.”

Cuomo responded, “that’s very debatable, you talk to LGBT people, they will say this is as much of their essence as any other part of them. But, the bigger question becomes this: How does this hurt you, saying that all people have an equal right to marry whom they love. How does this hurt you that it’s fueling this outrage among conservatives and Christians?”

King told Cuomo, “I have confined my debate to this thing to the Constitution and the rule of law. … The Constitution does not provide a right to marriage, even though the Supreme Court says it does, it does not. And if the Congress decided to pass such a law that had mirrored what the Supreme Court has, I think, wrongly ordered last Friday, it’d be found unconstitutional because we don’t have the authority in Congress to impose same-sex marriage on all the states and all the people within them. But, if the states should make those decisions within their legislatures, they do have the constitutional right to pass same-sex marriage within the states, and they have the right to recognize reciprocity. This needs to follow a process, a due process. The people in America have a right to due process, too. Five black-robed judges deciding to transform American society at their whim is the wrong thing to do, especially when two of them were performing same-sex marriages in their spare time.”

Cuomo argued that there is sometimes a difference between what is popular and what people’s rights are, but that same-sex marriage is popular in the US, to which King said the Supreme Court shouldn’t pay attention to polls, which Cuomo said he understood, and clarified that he was looking at gay marriage’s popularity.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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