Friday night on Iowa Public Television, Republican Rep. Steve King had 30 minutes to spew what has become just blatant hate towards Latinos and immigrants. Here is the full show, and in the interest on highlighting his hate, we pulled selected segments from the show’s official transcript:
Kay Henderson: You went on Fox News on Tucker Carlson’s program to talk about some of these issues and you also predicted a looming race war. On which do you base that prediction?
Steve King: I think there was actually an interview with Jan Mickelson if I remember, but I get your point on this. And it was I believe the day that Jorge Ramos had in Spanish said to a group of Hispanics in Florida, this isn’t their country, it’s our country. When you say that in Spanish before a group of people that speak Spanish it doesn’t send a very good message to the rest of America. And that was the context that that was in. And Jorge Ramos was celebrating the day that Hispanics and African-Americans outnumber Caucasians in America. Now, that’s alright if it happens, we’re all God’s children after all, but it’s not a very American expression that he did and they have been pitting people against each other, identifying people by skin color, by melanin content, by race, ethnicity, by poverty versus prosperity. President Obama actually drove many of these wedges between people. And my point is this, that if we’re going to be focused on the things that we can see that we think are different about the hearts of people, eventually every group will be pitted against every group and that’s what that was about. I want to avoid that and that’s why I said that.
Erin Murphy: Congressman, you said that it opened up criticism from the left, from the other political side, but the Trump administration also distanced themselves from your comment, going back to the comment on other people’s babies. Was this a step too far for you given those concerns from within your own party?
King: It stimulated a debate that we need to have in this country. It was Eric Holder that said, there were cowards on race. Well, I wasn’t talking about race. I didn’t say race. And a matter of fact, Tucker Carlson sent out a tweet afterwards that said there was no comment about race. So others have made it about race. And with regard to the White House and that comment, the comment that came back from Sean Spicer after he was pressed by the press, it took him a day, he said, that’s just not an opinion that we share. So it’s about as light, the only other way to answer that would have been open himself up for the debate in a press conference from the White House. I regret that this had to roll all the way that it did. A snowball started here in Iowa and it rolled in front of the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, it rolled in front of the President of the United States and it even rolled in front of the Gorsuch hearings. And so if we can’t have an objective discussion about our values, our American values that are here, and if my critics can’t separate race from culture and civilization, they are the ones that are at fault and they’re the ones that are creating the division.
David Yepsen: But just to put a point on this, the sum total of all this, Congressman, is that a lot of people in this country think you’re a racist. How do you respond to them?
King: Well, I’ve never responded to that charge because there has never been a basis for it. And I will say, the most dog-eared, worn out card in the entire lexicon deck is the race card. And there are some people out there that only have one card in their deck and they’re 51 cards short. So if I get into that discussion, it never, never ends. I would just say go find something if you can, if it makes you feel good, but there’s nothing in the record that indicates that or supports it. They have to imagine it and make it up because it suits their political agenda.
Murphy: A couple other things you mentioned there, Congressman, we’d like to get to one some of these issues, one of them being immigration. President Trump said often on the campaign trail that the border wall that he would like to build to help enforce immigration at the southern border, that he would get Mexico to pay for that, but we now have the President asking to, planning to ask Congress for a billion dollars to help start the construction of that wall. Do you have any concerns with that, that this was being sold as something that someone else would pay for but now U.S. taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill?
King: Well, to get the starter capital out there a billion dollars on a project that I don’t think it actually takes $10 billion to build it, they’re saying all the way up to $25 billion or $30 billion, let’s dial that down a ways to $10 bill to $15 billion category should do what they want to do. We need to get the project started. And there are people there that don’t want to build the wall so they’re trying to pull the funding back and deny that. I say instead we have decided we’re going to build it, let’s get it built. It was always up to Donald Trump to figure out how to get the Mexicans to pay for it. That was never part of my promise. And yet I will say that there are a lot of ways to do that math on this and one of them is to look at the companies that have decided to relocate back into the United States, Black and Decker is one that said we’re going to put the U.S. brand back on Black and Decker, about 1,000 jobs for Ford Motor Company came back to the United States, there are a number of those other narratives. I can’t quote all of them. But each one of those stimulate our economy. And then there’s a series of other dynamics and perhaps we will end up putting a duty on dollars that are wired south of the border and some of that is drug laundered money. And if we take all of the resources that are confiscated from the drug cartels and put them into the wall, I think we’ll get to that point where one day they’ll be able to say, yes they did pay for it. But the biggest damage is this, 80% to 90% of the illegal drugs consumed in America come from or through Mexico. And we’re watching as tens of thousands have died of drug overdose in this country every year, I believe it’s 52,000 Americans die to drug overdoses and about 33,000 of them are opioid, which is essentially heroin or prescription drugs in this country. So there are a lot of ways to measure it, eventually it will pay for itself.
Henderson: There has been regime change in America. Donald Trump is President. And he has just this week selected someone for the Council of Economic Advisors that is raising alarm bells for people who view immigration policy the same way as you do. Are you concerned that Donald Trump will in some way pass an immigration reform plan that is identical to what George W. Bush tried to push through?
King: Well, I don’t know that he’ll initiate that because it would be so contrary to his campaign rhetoric. Yet people are policy, and I believe I tweeted that out also. But people are policy. So whenever I see those kind of appointments come in place I do get concerned about it. Something that gives me some level of comfort is Jeff Sessions is the Attorney General and we have General John Kelly has repeated many times, I will enforce the law. Then we have Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Miller, all there in the White House to support a restoration of the rule of law with regard to immigration. But I am not at the level of being happy with so far what Donald Trump has done. He has done some good things and he seems to have put a lot of good things in place, but DACA and DAPA still exist. And they were unconstitutional by Barack Obama’s analysis. And so every day that we go on, and I’ve told the President this, every day you don’t address this it gets harder and harder to do. And we essentially have a promise to sit down one-on-one and talk this through but we’ve got to find the opportunity to do that.
Yepsen: Are you concerned that this President, on immigration, on other issues, where what he said is not what is happening now? Is he in trouble with his base, with the people who voted for him?
King: I think that there is that risk. I wouldn’t say that is the case today. His base is starting to get uneasy because they haven’t seen this movement on DACA and on DAPA is one of them, they’re not quite confident yet on the wall, but the messages are clear out of the White House we’ll build a wall. So I look at the to-do list that comes out of the campaign promises of Donald Trump and that is on a white board much larger than Karl Rove’s and Steve Bannon’s office. There are a lot of checkmarks behind that but there are a few to go he has to do —
Yepsen: I’m sorry —
King: I say there are a few to go or he will lose his base and I think that’s an important message for the President to receive.