President Trump’s immigration plan is covered in the news daily. Listen as Larry speaks with Rep. Steve King regarding President Trump’s immigration plan, leadership in the House and his wariness of Reince Priebus.
An excerpt of the interview can be found below:
O’Connor: We are skeptical Congressman King that this is actually going to happen considering the track record there on the Hill. Can you tell me what kind of conversations you’ve had? What kind of confidence you have in Speaker Ryan and in your fellow Republicans that they are going to follow through.
King: Well you won’t be surprised Larry when you hear me say that sometimes those conversations get steered around me rather than with me because they probably don’t want to hear what I have to say about the other side of the argument. Facetiously thinking, to quote our most previous past President Obama when he said, ‘elections have consequences’. And it’s true that President Trump was elected in a large part because of his immigration policy and position. And I don’t think you can make a logical argument in any political science arena, that he would be the President if he hadn’t made those arguments. If he would have embraced the autopsy report of his now Chief of Staff, from 2012, he would not be President today. I think that’s real clear. Might be Hillary, could be Ted Cruz. But it’s very unlikely it would be Donald Trump. And so when he made those level of campaign promises – and by the way – so far he’s been doing a terrific job of keeping many, many of those campaign promises. So I have to say to my colleagues, you took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. You know that Barack Obama violated the Constitution, even if you are a self-professed Constitutional scholar, which I claim to be, you still know that President Obama declared his actions to be unconstitutional. DOCA and DOPA. And so, if you vote to fund or if you support an act that violates the Constitution, then you’re violating your oath of office which you have taken to support and defend the Constitution of the United States so help you God. We all took that oath. And that’s what I tell them and they get a little offended from time to time, but if it’s not public they can forgive me easier.
O’Connor: That pesky Constitution always angers Congressmen now and again Representative King. But listen, you referred obliquely to former Chairman of the Republican Party Reince Priebus who is now the President’s Chief of Staff. And you’re right, his autopsy that was done after the Mitt Romney loss in 2012 absolutely said avoid this immigration issue like the plague. So is it fair to say that you are wary of Chief of Staff Priebus and his commitment to push through the President’s agenda and work with you to get it through Congress?
King: Well let me say some affirmative things first about Reince Priebus. He and I, from my perspective, have a good personal relationship. And he’s been responsive to me for the most part, given that he is in the well of the oval office and it’s hard with so much information flying back and forth and so it’s hard to communicate in an in-depth way. But we’ve never had a personal disagreement and I think he’s a very capable administrator and maybe he is just the perfect guy for President Trump. But the political opinion on this immigration issue, that exist within, I’ve never heard Reince Priebus , let’s say miss-counter recant his position on the comprehensive Immigration Reform to use their terms . I haven’t heard Paul Ryan do that either and so I have to believe that they haven’t changed their minds. And then so they are probably figuring out how do we work with and accommodate a President who has a mandate for the American people. And yes, I’m wary. And I am aware that there seems to be two schools of thought that have emerged within the White House and that Donald Trump sees that as a dynamic opportunity to put them against each other and see who can prevail. And that’s been his management style for some time, I am told. I see that and it has merit in it. And he has some good people in the White House to debate this, but I’m with you on – we need to – listen the President made a clear pledge. This was actually going to be first day. But from the first day on information is that they continue to issue DOCA permits at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. That’s roughly 800 a day. All he had to do was sign an executive order on the first day that should have been done. I timed him. He was signing executive orders and it was taking him 47 seconds per executive order there a Saturday or two ago. So I only want 47 seconds of the President’s time, knock it out and let’s get on with life.
O’Connor: So what’s the hold up?
King: Well I think the holdup is probably the debate going on in the White House between the two factions. The one that believes the autopsy report was accurate and the other one that believes in the rule of law and the Constitution and the pledge that the President has made as a candidate. I want to see it done and done soon because the problem is getting bigger every day.