Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a key endorser of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential run and a leading anti-immigration voice in the house, told an Iowa talk radio program yesterday that although he is not ready to endorse Donald Trump now that he is the presumptive GOP nominee, he is ready to thank Trump for “borrowing” his immigration policy and “help” the candidate solidify his stance on the issue.
King told Iowa radio host Jeff Angelo that he’s not ready to offer a direct endorsement because of the “insults” Trump has hurled at his adversaries: “I’m not a guy who holds a lot of grudges, but I have to be able to remember some things along the way.”
But he seemed ready to work with Trump on crafting a restrictive immigration policy:
I’ve said that we need to support the nominee that’s produced by the rules. I’ve never seen a nominee pour out so many insults on other people as Donald Trump has. This isn’t the day to highlight all of those and grind through all of that, but I’ll just say this, that I think Donald Trump is going to have to do a job of reaching out to conservatives and convincing. You’re a candidate, you’ve got to convince people to come in behind you. We had somewhere between 5 and 8 million conservatives who didn’t come out to vote when Mitt Romney was on the ballot, and he may well be president today if he had been able to mobilize those conservatives.
So I want to hear some things from Donald Trump on how it will be and what he will do. It’s been pretty hard to figure that out over the last few months. And I’m not going to say that I’m going to be a ‘Never Trump’ person, don’t expect that at all out of me. Expect me to say to Donald Trump: ‘Thanks a lot for borrowing my immigration policy, you get to keep it and I’ll help you with that, and let’s see what else we can do, if we can work together to strengthen this.’
And so I’d like to see it put together in a way that we can put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together where there’s a whole, coherent policy in the Trump campaign that can stand up and win an election, and something that is so firm that he stands on it and we stand on it and we get to a place where we can stand on it together.
Somehow, we think that King and Trump will be able to make up eventually. Before Trump and Cruz started locking heads, King praised Trump for raising the profile of anti-immigrant policies.
And who can forget when Trump traveled to Iowa to campaign for King in 2014, resulting in a press conference where Trump stood by as King warned of immigrants bringing in Ebola and beheadings and heaped praise on Trump for his “brain” and “character.”
“I have this affinity to, I’ll just say, get the opportunity to claim as friends a unique individual that has blazed his own trail time and time again,” King said at the time, “one who never puts his finger in the wind, but puts his brain to it and his character to it and his work ethic to it and his instincts to it, and time after time, when the hand of Donald Trump reached out and touched something, it turned into something good for America.”