The Iowa State Fair kicked off today, as did the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox series. There’s not a non-stop schedule of presidential candidates on stage this year, but most of Iowa’s candidates for federal office will speak. Steve King was the first up on Thursday morning. As expected, the 4th District Republican had some interesting things to say.
King focused a lot on the presidential politics of 2016 and very little on his own reelection race against Democrat Kim Weaver. He was famously hesitant on Donald Trump’s candidacy earlier this year, but explained to the crowd that the Republican national convention in Cleveland helped his enthusiasm for the nominee.
In particular, King praised Trump’s stances on immigration and ISIS. He also had some extra suggestions to improve Trump’s border wall.
“On the immigration issue, I don’t have any qualms with Donald Trump’s position on immigration,” King told the crowd of about 80 people. “The most effective way we can do that is to build a wall on the southern border. I’d add to that: first build a fence near the border, then go up about 100 feet, build a wall, then go another 100 feet, build another fence. Then you have two no-man lands there that you can enforce easily within and patrol and put the sensors on there.”
King also made some rather interesting news when discussing the other presidential candidate. In describing a potential Hillary Clinton presidency, he said that Clinton’s Supreme Court choices would change the judiciary so much that “the Constitution will be unrecognizable as we know it.”
However, he also had one surprisingly nice thing to say about Clinton.
“I also know that I’ve sat across the table with Hillary Clinton, eye-to-eye, and when you’re working outside the staff and outside the press, she is somebody I can work with,” King noted.
That quickly attracted some national attention as one more instance where a prominent Republican strayed a bit from the party line on Clinton and Trump. It also played in to the Clinton campaign’s messaging that she’s a respected stateswoman who can work with Congress to get things done.
Not quite, King later explained to press afterward. When asked if there’s any specific issue he thought he could work with Clinton on, he replied that he’d have to feel that out in the future. King reiterated that he is supporting Trump and that he’s particularly encouraged by the Mike Pence pick for Vice President. King held an event in Sioux City with Pence earlier this week.
By Pat Rynard
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