Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach had a guest host fill in for him on his Sunday night radio program in Kansas City in late November as he was on the east coast meeting with Donald Trump and apparently applying for the job of homeland security secretary. But Kobach was back at his radio show on Sunday, without an official Trump administration job—at least not yet—but confident that he will now have “allies in Washington” as he pushes for draconian restrictions on immigration and voting rights.
(Sure enough, Kobach was back at Trump tower today.)
When a caller on Sunday’s show asked Kobach, who has been an immigration adviser for Trump’s transition team, if he’ll land a position with the administration, Kobach was noncommittal. “You know, right now I’ve got so much to do in Kansas that I’ll be quite happy staying here in the Sunflower State,” he said, “but if they need me, I’ll certainly listen, and I have been in regular contact with Mr. Trump and with the team. So either way, we will have allies in Washington, people who believe in the rule of law.”
The kind of policies that Kobach hopes to feed to the Trump administration were evident in Sunday night’s radio program.
At one point, a caller asked Kobach if Trump was going to follow through on his promise to end the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship for children born in the U.S.
Kobach responded that “a lot of it will depend on the initial rollout of the administration and the courts as well” but that he had talked with Trump about his view that birthright citizenship can be stripped from the children of undocumented immigrants without a constitutional amendment:
I do know that he, I’ve spoken about that issue with him, and he understands it, he recognizes that there’s nothing in the United States Constitution that says an illegal alien, that the child of an illegal alien, becomes a U.S. citizen. That is not what the 14th Amendment states. So he knows about the issue, he’s certainly well aware of the issue and we’ll see.
But it’s amazing that we have a president who actually will talk about it. You know, so many previous Republican presidential candidates—and I’m talking about Romney, I’m talking about McCain, I’m talking about Bush—they just don’t even want to talk about it. They don’t even want to talk about these clear issues of law and Constitution because they’re afraid of offending someone by even talking. It’s this kind of paralysis of Republicans that has finally come to an end with Donald Trump. And thank goodness that a president who speaks his mind, a candidate who speaks his mind, can win. And he’s just reset the dial completely, he’s recalibrated American politics, and thank goodness.
At another point a listener called in to praise Kobach for the “great law” he pushed through in Kansas that requires people who are registering to vote to produce a proof-of-citizenship document like a birth certificate. The law has left thousands of Kansas voters in legal limbo as it works its way through the courts.
The caller said that he was thrilled by the restrictive voting law because this year, for the first time, he went to cast and early vote and “did not see a group of what I could readily see were illegal aliens that couldn’t speak English, had to have somebody go up and help them vote.”
“I was so proud to be able to show my voter ID, or just my ID, and be able to vote and feel fairly comfortable that everybody in that line was an American citizen and had the right to vote,” the caller said.
“Amen,” Kobach interjected.
“I mean, it just made me feel like maybe, slowly but surely, we were working towards the positive goal that this country was intended to be run on, that citizens vote, not illegal votes,” the caller added.
Kobach replied that his law “makes so much sense” and marveled at people who oppose it because of “whatever bizarre reason they have for wanting to allow people to just claim they’re U.S. citizens without proving it to vote.”
When another caller asked Kobach if it was in fact he who fed Trump his bogus claim that 3 million noncitizens voted in the 2016 election, Kobach said he wasn’t sure but that Trump was correct.
“Well, I’m not going to comment on where he—you know, I wasn’t the only person talking to him about the problem of illegal voting, so I’m not going to claim or deny it,” he said, “I’m just going to simply say that, yes, I have talked to Donald Trump about the problem of illegal votes being cast but, no, I don’t claim to be the one who inspired—he was speaking the truth.”