Congressman Steve King opened the “Iowa Freedom Summit” this morning in Des Moines by suggesting the crowd will hear from one of the Republican candidates who will win the presidency in 2016.
“I wanted to put up a ship’s bow up here and get out a bottle of champagne and just break that over the bow so that we could launch the next era of American exceptionalism together,” King said, to applause from the crowd. “That is what we’re doing. It’s what we must do together.”
Eight candidates who have made clear they are considering a run for president are scheduled to speak today. The list includes the last two winners of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Caucuses. King offered his own opinion about the would-be candidates who did not accept his invitation today.
“Do you believe that the next president of the United States is going to be speaking from,” King asked. The crowd cheered, then King added: “As do I.”
King, who had the first speech slot of the day, laid out a few issues which he expects the possible candidates to address today, including national defense. When King called for abolishing the IRS he got a rousing response from the crowd. A few moments later the audience bowed their heads as King delivered this prayer: “And I pray that out of this process you will identify and lift up the individual whom you will use to restore the soul of this great country. Thank you Lord. God bless America.”
AUDIO of King’s speech
A group of protesters are gathered outside of the event hall to criticize King’s stand and statements about immigration. This past Tuesday King used the word ‘deportable’ to describe Texas college student President Obama had as a guest at the “State of the Union” address. The young woman was brought into the country illegally by her parents when she was a child and has been shielded from deportation by Obama’s executive order. Later today a group of “Dreamers” who were brought into the country illegally by their parents will gather at a Des Moines restaurant for hamburgers with “a side of cantaloupe.” That’s a reference to King’s comments a few years ago that there are more drug runners than valedictorians among the young people brought into the country illegally by their parents.
The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee held a news conference a block away from the Iowa Freedom Summit event hall, in the hour before the event began. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz suggested GOP candidates would pay a price with the public for being “in such close company” with King.
“It would feel surreal, which is what reality TV feels like, if it weren’t so frighteningly real because these are all people who actually have their hands on the levers of power,” she told reporters. “These are people that actually control power.”