Republican Congressman Steve King backed Ted Cruz in the Iowa Caucuses and he’s not yet endorsed Donald Trump.
King is hosting a meeting with Trump’s top foreign policy advisor today to talk about what King calls “a strategy to defeat radical Islamic jihad.”
“Hopefully we can get to the place where I can look conservatives in the eye and let them know that we can work with the Trump Administration,” King told Radio Iowa. “That’s the goal, but I have to believe it and have conviction or I won’t be able to make such a recommendation.”
King said he wants to learn more about Trump’s strategy for appointing judges to all levels of the federal courts system, plus King wants more details about Trump’s immigration policy.
“If the election were today, I would vote for Trump,” King said. “I’m not to that point to make an endorsement.”
Some other Republicans in congress — like House Speaker Paul Ryan — have raised concerns about Trump’s contention that he’s not getting a fair hearing from a judge whose parents are Mexicans. A state senator from northwest Iowa has changed his registration from Republican to “no party” in protest. King said he wants factions in the Republican Party of “marry up” rather than break apart.
“The comments that Donald Trump made about a judge, you know, I would have been happy enough if they had never been made, but I’d be happier yet if Republicans hadn’t criticized him because we have a country to pull together,” King said. “I know about what happens when you have Republicans bickering among Republicans. That means the left wins.”
Three years ago King was publicly rebuked by then-House Speaker John Boehner. Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, called King’s comments about undocumented immigrants “deeply offensive and wrong.” Yesterday, Trump issued a statement saying his comments about the judge had been “misconstrued.”
A Morningside College professor who is now national co-chair and policy advisor to Trump’s campaign was questioned about the controversy this morning. Sam Clovis told the crowd at the Westside Conservative Breakfast Club in Urbandale that the “news cycle” on this story will “go away” soon.
“I think the issue is that the judge is of Hispanic heritage and the judge is a member of La Raza. That’s an issue,” Clovis said. “Whether he is biased or not, it is the perception or the appearance of bias…Oftentimes the appearance of impropriety is worse than the actual act and so that’s all the thing that’s being raised.”
Clovis said Trump had been “un-artful” in the way he had talked about the judge, but Clovis said Trump made a valid point: “the perception that there might be bias and I think if you’re in those circumstances, you’ve got to be able to state that and he has every right to say it.”
Clovis told reporters he was responding to a crowd question on the topic and didn’t plan “to talk about it anymore.”