Iowa

Steve King: GOP Shouldn't 'Pander' To Hispanics 'Because We're All God's Children'

Last Wednesday, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, joined Iowa radio host Simon Conway at anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, where he said that it was wrong for the Republican Party to “pander” to Latino voters “because we’re all God’s children.”

“[Republicans] like the cheap labor and Democrats like the expansion of the politics, as you say,” King told Conway while discussing his opposition to immigration reform. “It’s about their ability to document undocumented Democrats, bring more undocumented Democrats in and then document them so that they can vote.”

King continued, “From the time I arrived in this town, my own leadership on the Republican side went to great lengths to try to suppress my verbiage because they said, ‘Don’t talk about that, don’t assign them a motive of it being politically motivated, we really want it to be humanitarian and we want to be open-minded,’ and you know how that all goes.”

King pointed out that Hispanics in South Texas voted Democratic in 2000 and, as a result, the GOP “concluded that they needed to do outreach to Hispanics, and the way to do that was to pander, and it’s a mistake to do that because we’re all God’s children, we’re cut from the same image, and he gives us distinctions so we can tell each other apart, and he gives us inspirations. And so we shouldn’t do identity politics and we shouldn’t pander.”

Conway interjected that “identity politics is racist,” to which King agreed.

Steve King: 'If Everybody Had A Gun' At Orlando Club, 'I Don't Think Anybody Would Have Gotten Shot'

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told Iowa radio host Simon Conway last week that guns were not to blame for the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub this month because if every person at the club had been carrying a gun, nobody would have been shot.

King and Conway discussed the Orlando attack on Wednesday at the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row.

The club was protected by an armed police officer who exchanged fire with the assailant, but state law prohibits people from carrying guns in establishments like nightclubs that dispense alcoholic beverages. King, however, said that the alcohol-drinking club-goers should have all been armed.

“I look at this and I think, we have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms and the problem in Orlando at the Pulse was not a problem of the gun laws,” King said, criticizing efforts in Congress to bolster gun regulations after the shooting. “I mean, he followed all of them, the FBI interrogated him at least three times, they decided that he wasn’t enough of a risk. He wouldn’t have been on a list anyway. So anything that they might propose to do would not have prevented the tragedy, the horrific, gruesome tragedy in Orlando, and yet they would trample on the very rights that are needed for people to protect themselves.”

He continued, “If everybody in that nightclub, at the Pulse, had been armed, if everybody had a gun, I would say this: I don’t think anybody would have gotten shot. [In the] first place, I don’t think the perpetrator walks in there. If he does walk in there, then we may have, but there would’ve been a lot fewer than the 102.”

Grassley Revives 'Wise Latina' Canard To Defend Trump's Racism

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has taken the lead in the Senate GOP’s effort to block Judge Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination in the hope that a President Donald Trump will be the one to name the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement.

Grassley’s blockade became even more problematic this week when Trump launched a racist assault against a federal judge who is hearing a fraud case involving his Trump University. Trump claimed that the judge, who was born in Indiana to parents who emigrated from Mexico, had an “inherent conflict of interest” in the case because he is “Mexican” and Trump is “building a wall.” The presumptive GOP presidential nominee later acknowledged that using the same logic, it was “possible” that a Muslim judge should also be disqualified from hearing a case involving him.

Trump’s comments drew widespread condemnation, including from some of his fellow Republicans, but Grassley, apparently, didn’t see the problem. In a conference call with Iowa reporters today, Grassley equated Trump’s comments with Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s famous “wise Latina” remark that became a right-wing flashpoint during her 2009 confirmation hearings:

“I think that you don’t have any more trouble with what Trump said than when Sotomayor said that — when she was found saying in speeches that, quote, ‘A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male,’” he said. “I don’t hear any criticism of that sort of comment by a justice of the Supreme Court.”

Grassley didn’t pull this comparison out of thin air: The same comparison has been popping up all over the right-wing media.

It’s a flashback to 2009, when conservatives latched on to a speech Sotomayor had given in 2001 in which she disagreed with the idea that a judge isn’t influenced by his or her personal background:

Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. … I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, … there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

What Sotomayor’s critics often chose to ignore was that she went on to say that while a judge’s personal experience can’t help but influence how they see the world, a good judge tries to look beyond the myopia of personal experience to understand the lives of others:

I … believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. … [Nine] white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.

However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.

Sotomayor later clarified in the face of right-wing criticism: “I want to state upfront, unequivocally and without doubt: I do not believe that any ethnic, racial or gender group has an advantage in sound judging. I do believe every person has an equal opportunity to be a good and wise judge, regardless of their background or life experience."

It shouldn’t be surprising that Grassley and some of his allies on the Right are reviving the “wise Latina” attack on Sotomayor as they attempt to defend Trump. In fact, Trump’s comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel are not that different from how the Right attacked Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings, claiming that simply because she had spoken proudly of her Latina heritage and acknowledged that a person’s background can shape how they see the world she would be driven by “identity politics” rather than the law.

Some claimed explicitly, and many others implicitly, that Sotomayor, who had graduated from Princeton and Yale and had served for many years as a federal judge, was not as qualified as a white judge with a similar record. Pat Buchanan, who is now an enthusiastic cheerleader for Trump, was one of those who made the claim explicitly when he wrote that white Americans “pay the price of affirmative action when their sons and daughters are pushed aside to make room for the Sonia Sotomayors.”

We wrote in a report after her confirmation:

Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” remarks were taken out of context to imply that she was some kind of ethnic supremacist, and her ruling in the Ricci affirmative action case was wildly distorted to suggest that she was a judicial activist who lived to use the law as a club against white men. Pundits like Rush Limbaugh and elected officials like Tom Tancredo called her a racist. Pat Buchanan charged her with having a “race-based” approach to justice and having demonstrated “a lifelong resolve to discriminate against white males.”

On the first day of Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings, columnist Eugene Robinson observed:

Republicans' outrage, both real and feigned, at Sotomayor's musings about how her identity as a "wise Latina" might affect her judicial decisions is based on a flawed assumption: that whiteness and maleness are not themselves facets of a distinct identity. Being white and male is seen instead as a neutral condition, the natural order of things. Any "identity" — black, brown, female, gay, whatever —has to be judged against this supposedly "objective" standard.


Thus it is irrelevant if Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. talks about the impact of his background as the son of Italian immigrants on his rulings — as he did at his confirmation hearings — but unforgivable for Sotomayor to mention that her Puerto Rican family history might be relevant to her work.

This seems to be the attitude of the Trump campaign, whose top operative has said that picking a woman or person of color as a vice presidential nominee would amount to “pandering” and whose list of potential Supreme Court picks were all white and mostly men. According to Trump, it seems, only white men can be unbiased and qualified. And Grassley seems to think that’s just fine.

Steve King: 'Good Amount' Of Trump Policy Is 'A Copy-And-Paste From Things That I've Done'

Steve King, the Iowa GOP congressman who once said that DREAM Act beneficiaries are mostly drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” said yesterday that he expects to be “deeply engaged” in immigration policy if Donald Trump is to become president, boasting that a “good amount” of the immigration policies on Trump’s website are “a copy-and-paste from things that I’ve done.”

King told Jeff Angelo, who was guest-hosting the Iowa talk radio program “Mickelson in the Morning,” that his legislative priorities in the next Congress would depend on who is elected president.

“If it’s Hillary, I’ll be playing a lot of defense because she’ll be pouring an agenda at us,” he said. “And if it’s Trump, then we’ve got an opportunity to move another direction. So, let’s just say, the agenda is going to be continue to kill off bad ideas. And if it’s Trump it will be sort his ideas, but I expect to be deeply engaged in the immigration legislation that would just certainly come and in shaping a fence, a wall and a fence on the southern border. A good amount of what’s on his website is a copy-and-paste from things that I’ve done, and we’ll get along on the immigration, I think, without any problem.”

King also said that he would “push hard for a balanced budget amendment” because if an amendment isn’t ratified, “the movement to do a constitutional convention for that purpose is just going to push one on us anyway.”

We will wait to see if Trump takes up King’s idea of installing an electrified fence at the southern border.

Anti-Vaxxer: President Trump 'Absolutely Will Investigate' Phony Autism Link

A vocal anti-vaccination activist explained last week that she is supporting Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy because she is confident that President Trump, with the help of Ben Carson as the secretary of Health and Human Services and Chris Christie as the U.S. attorney general, “absolutely will investigate” what she believes is a Centers for Disease Control cover-up of a link between vaccines and autism.

In a Republican debate last year, Trump suggested that vaccines cause autism, a myth that has no scientific backing, and in 2014 he insisted that “the doctors lied” about vaccination. Meanwhile, Carson has presented scientifically inaccurate information about spacing vaccines and Christie has been less than forceful about the need for vaccination.

Tamara Scott, an Iowa conservative activist and Republican National Committee member, invited Eileen Dannemann, who runs an anti-vaxxer website called the Vaccine Liberation Army, to her “Truth for Our Time” radio program last week to discuss Dannemann’s concerns about vaccines. (Scott has invited anti-vaxxers onto her program before; in a previous interview with Dannemann, she alleged that “socialistic teaching” in schools, not parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, is causing disease outbreaks.)

Dannemann told Scott that attempts to investigate a CDC vaccine cover-up have so far been quashed, but that things will be different in a Trump presidency.

“With Trump as president, with Carson as the secretary of HHS and with Christie taking Lynch’s place [as attorney general], we have a team here that absolutely will investigate the CDC corruption and the safety of vaccines,” she said.

Scott added that it’s “not just the vaccines, folks,” but on a number of other issues “we know that Trump would be far better than the other team that basically hates whatever made this great republic great.”

Steve Deace: Conservatives Using Supreme Court As 'Fig Leaf' As They 'Sell Their Souls' To Trump

After Donald Trump released a list of 11 people he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if he were elected president, some conservatives who had been wary of supporting the presumptive GOP nominee began using it as an excuse to rally behind him. But not all of Trump’s conservative critics are convinced that he would actually pick from the judges on his list, many of whom were hand-picked by the conservative Heritage Society.

Among the skeptics is Steve Deace, the conservative Iowa talk radio host and vocal Trump critic, who said on his radio program yesterday that he did not believe Trump would actually nominate any of those judges when push comes to shove and that conservative activists are just using the Supreme Court list as a “fig leaf” as they “sell their souls” to Trump.

Deace’s guest, Daniel Horowitz of Conservative Review, predicted that Senate Democrats would never allow the confirmation of “a true originalist in the mold of Clarence Thomas” and that Trump would end up compromising on his court picks.

Deace agreed. “Why does anybody believe, anybody, unless they just want to be deceived, why does anybody believe that he would follow through on any of those things?” he asked.

“This is being done to offer a fig leaf to give conservative leaders and conservative voters who supported Ted Cruz permission to cross over and to say ‘We can now vote for Trump,’” he said. “And they have plausible deniability, if he doesn’t nominate any of those guys, then they’re victims later on, ‘Well, we went with his words, we had no other alternative, there’s nothing else we could do, we didn’t want Hillary to win, it’s all on his head.’ That’s what this is. It’s nothing more, nothing less, than a fig leaf to give Ted Cruz’s conservative infrastructure permission to sell their souls and to bow the knee and kneel before Zod.”

GOP Rep.: US Going 'Downhill' Thanks To Legal Contraception, LGBT Rights

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, blasted the Obama administration on Saturday for a new directive on transgender equality in public schools, joking that the administration won’t be satisfied until all students are “transgendered [sic] vegans” and lamenting a “downhill” descent in the United States that includes the Supreme Court rulings recognizing women’s right to access birth control.

King discussed the Obama administration letter to school districts in the “Caffeinated Thoughts Radio” podcast on Saturday, saying that “pranksters” in their last week of high school are probably “lined up right now” to take advantage of transgender rights to get into girls’ bathrooms.

Think of this: This is the last week of school for a lot of high school seniors. Some of these boys, especially, are a little rowdy when they’ve got their grades already in the bank and are just kind of waiting to go down and accept their diploma. … But, think of this, all over America, they’ve got to be lined up right now, the pranksters, going, ‘I’m going to go into the girls’ room,’ ‘I’m going,’ ‘I dare you,’ ‘Well, the two of us will go,’ ‘The three of us will go.’ There’s a line-up in some school right now and no school can discipline them because the federal government will come in with the Justice Department and jerk their No Child Left Behind funding.

He half-joked that the government would next announce that “‘We’re going to make you all vegans,’ transgendered [sic] vegans would satisfy them.”

“It’s the unhumorous humorous reality of how perverse our society has gotten under Barack Obama,” he added.

When asked if schools would resist the administration’s directive, King was pessimistic, saying that he had seen society “capitulate” to Supreme Court rulings on prayer in schools, abortion rights, and same-sex marriage, along with the court’s rulings in Griswold v. Connecticut and Eisenstaedt v. Baird, which established the right of married and unmarried people, respectively, to access birth control.

With all of these developments, King said, the U.S. has gone “downhill fast” as society has allowed the courts to “change the protocol of the civilization that goes back to Adam and Eve.”

Well, I was sitting [as] a freshman in high school when Murray vs. Curlett came down that ordered that there be no more prayer in the public schools. And I thought then, that was 1963, and I thought then, how are they going to stop us from praying in our schools? They could tape our mouths shut, that doesn’t do it. The only way they could stop us would be to empty the schools out. And in my mind’s eye, I can still see the images that were conjured up: two U.S. Army personnel standing there guarding the doors that were chained shut on our high school. … It was the image that came to mind, the only way to stop us from praying in public schools was to empty the schools out and guard them so we couldn’t sneak in and pray.

And, yet, what happened was, society capitulated to the command of the Supreme Court, and then we saw a watershed that went downhill: Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, Griswold v. Connecticut, Eisenstadt, on and on and on ... but we went downhill fast. And then you saw, we were all part of the battle against what our Iowa Supreme Court did when they commanded that there be same-sex marriage in Iowa, and then we saw the Supreme Court order, just create a new command in the United States Constitution. So now we’ve got to submit to five members of the Supreme Court and one president and simply let them change the protocol of the civilization that goes back to Adam and Eve? And I’m going to say, society will capitulate because they didn’t fight on marriage.

Listen to the full audio of the interview at Caffeinated Thoughts; the discussion with King begins at around the 3-minute mark.

Steve Deace Promises To 'Troll Like A Mother' Against Mike Huckabee And Other Trump Endorsers

Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace, who has become a vocal player in the state’s Republican politics, renounced his Republican Party membership following Donald Trump’s apparent victory in the party’s presidential nominating contest, and is determined that none of his former Religious Right allies will get away with backing the thrice-married mogul.

On Wednesday, after Deace’s chosen candidate, Ted Cruz, dropped out of the presidential race, Deace blasted former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — whom he campaigned for in Iowa in 2008 —  for endorsing Trump.

“Donald Trump has done us a favor, it appears, in pruning off all of the rotten fruit off of the tree,” Deace’s cohost Aaron McIntire said.

“I am going to troll like a mother the next few months, though, I’m going to do that,” Deace promised. “I am. Huckabee and all these guys, I’m going to scorched-earth them all and I’m going to enjoy doing it, actually. Maybe more than I should.”

True to his word, Deace spent several minutes on his program today trolling Huckabee for backing Trump.

In 2008, Deace said, he helped pick the former governor “up off the dirt floor at negative nine percent, when nobody knew how to pronounce your name or that funny-sounding Baptist college you came from” and “risked my job, put my family on the road, became a six-month infomercial on your candidacy.” He claimed he also did the opposition research that “you didn’t have the balls nor the money to do” on Mitt Romney, who came in second to Huckabee in that year’s caucuses.

“So I think it is only fitting, gentlemen, it is only poetic that Mike Huckabee brought me into this world and is now ushering me out,” he said. “We have come full circle.”

Huckabee, Deace said, is pandering to Trump in a futile hope “to get a sell-out, which makes it all the more pathetic”

Steve King Offers To Help Trump With Immigration Policy

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."

Steve Deace Breaks Up With The Republican Party

Conservative Iowa talk radio personality Steve Deace, who became a prominent endorser of Ted Cruz’s presidential run, has reacted to Donald Trump’s ascendance to presumptive GOP nominee by breaking up with the Republican Party, filing paperwork today to renounce his party registration.

On Facebook and on his radio program last night, Deace declared that the United States is like a “petulant brat” who is “crying out to be spanked” by God.

He declared on his radio program that “the Republican Party ended for me today.”

“I just will not belong to something that has zero interest in the things of God,” he said, “and it’s clear to me that this party does not. I will not belong to something that has, whose character has sunk so low that it could nominate a man like Donald Trump as its standard-bearer.”

To the members of the “Trump cult,” he said, “Congratulations, you won, here’s the keys to your lemon.”

He and his cohosts then compared leaving the Republican Party to breaking off a toxic relationship or watching a loved one die of a slow, painful disease.

“You know what’s funny about this, though?” Deace said. “I just feel like this huge burden has been lifted off of me. I feel like the dude who knows his girlfriend’s been cheating on him this whole time and has a drinking problem.”

Once you break off such a “toxic” relationship, he said, “that’s when you can care about that person again because you don’t feel like they’re betraying you now and you’re like, ‘No hard feelings, I shouldn’t have let it go this far, you really need counseling.’”

“I feel the least amount of hostility toward the Republican Party tonight than I have maybe in my broadcast career … and it comes, not coincidentally the night that I am no longer a Republican,” he declared.

“You’re describing,” his co-host Todd Erzen said, “how people feel at the end of a long, slow, painful slog that is a certain kind of death, that comes with a certain kind of disease. And you don’t want your loved one to go away, you’re remembering all the good times, you’re remembering the potential, whatever; when it finally comes, there’s peace.”

Deace continued to disparage “Trump’s campaign con,” labeling the presumptive GOP nominee’s message “Louis Farrakhan for white people.”

Grassley Promises Anti-Choice Activists He'll Hold The Line Against Garland

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, joined a conference call of anti-abortion activists hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List last night to assure them that he would continue to hold the line and refuse to hold a Judiciary Committee hearing on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

Also joining the call were Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who delivered an opening prayer.

Grassley told the activists that when someone asked him for an update on the nomination last week, he said that “an update would suggest that something has changed” and that he still intends to block any nominee until the next president takes office.

He said that preventing “another liberal” from joining the Supreme Court was necessary to keep “even the reasonable restrictions on abortion that have been enacted into law through the democratic process” from being “swept away.”

Grassley cited a recent National Right to Life poll which he said found that “about 80 percent of Americans don’t believe that abortions should be available after the first trimester.” (It was more complicated than that.)

“But we know that justices who embrace the view that the Constitution is a living document don’t share that view that you and I share,” he said. “The American people, through their elected representatives, should be making these policy decisions, not unelected judges. These are life-and-death issues that we’re fighting for. They show just how important this fight over who’s going to fill Scalia’s seat is.”

In response to a question from SBA List president Marjorie Dannefelser, Grassley suggested that news reports characterizing Garland as moderate are a misleading ploy by the media (one that, if he was correct, he himself and some of his Republican colleagues would be in on).

When Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were nominated, he said, “always in these headlines at the time they were nominated, that adjective was the word ‘moderate,’ just like Garland. Well, we know how those four have turned out. So don’t believe what you read in the press about people’s basic philosophy, because they got it all wrong and probably intentionally all wrong.”

When Dannenfelser asked Grassley to respond to the argument that the Senate is neglecting its job by refusing to even consider Garland’s nomination, Grassley repeated his claim that it would actually be a waste of taxpayer money to give Garland a hearing.

“Well, we could have a hearing, we aren’t going to have a hearing, but let’s just suppose we could have a hearing,” he said. “And I know 52 people, at least 52 in the Senate, aren’t going to approve it. So you have a hearing and you spend a lot of taxpayers’ money gearing up for it, you spend a lot of time of members, a lot of research that has to be done by staff, and then it ain’t going to go anyplace.”

“It’s like getting dressed up for the prom but you don’t get to go,” Dannenfelser said.

Steve King Suspects 'A Good Chunk' Of Remittances To Mexico Are 'Laundered Drug Money'

When Donald Trump suggested this week that he would make Mexico pay for a border wall by threatening to cut off all remittance payments sent by American workers to family members in Mexico, he was echoing years of calls from anti-immigrant politicians like former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter to punish immigrants who send money to their families.

It isn’t exactly a surprise, then, that Rep. Steve King of Iowa, one of the most vocal anti-immigration advocates in Congress, seems fairly supportive of Trump’s plan despite having endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for president.

Newsmax host Steve Malzberg asked King about Trump’s plan in an interview yesterday, and King said that while he was “torn between a couple of two fires” on the issue, he’d “like to see Donald Trump go a little further with this dialogue and see what we might be able to get done.”

King, who once insisted that most people eligible for the DREAM Act have “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” said that he suspected that “a good chunk” of remittances to Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America are “laundered drug money.”

'I Have Not Gotten The Big Things Wrong': Glenn Beck Begs Iowa Voters Not To Support Donald Trump

Today, Glenn Beck revealed that he has converted his radio studio into a full-scale replica of the Oval Office and will now be broadcasting his daily radio program from this room:

Why Beck spent who knows how much money constructing an Oval Office replica to be used for a radio broadcast is anybody's guess, not to mention how much it'll cost to ship it all to Jerusalem so Beck can continue to broadcast once America collapses.

And while he may have a fancy new set, not much else about the program has changed, as it still features Beck begging voters in Iowa not to vote for Donald Trump and to heed his warning "because I have not gotten the big things wrong."

"I beg you," Beck said. "If you have ever listened to me and you have heard 1999/Osama bin Laden, the banking crash of '08, the caliphate, and those are just the big ones."

Beck admitted that while he may have been wrong about a few small things here and there, "I've not gotten the ones wrong where I said, 'I'll fall on my sword,' have I? Where I said, "Listen guys, I know this one to be true.'"

"I have not gotten the big things wrong," Beck insisted, claiming that he foresaw 9/11, the 2008 economic collapse and, falsely, the rise of the caliphate in the Mideast. This, of course, conveniently brushes aside all of the things he has demonstrably gotten wrong as meaningless and unimportant, especially in comparison to the few "big things" that he supposedly got right.

Nevertheless, Beck insisted that his warning about Trump is one of those "big things" and therefore is something that should be heeded.

"If you have ever, ever taken to heart what I am saying," Beck told voters in Iowa, "please, please do not vote for Donald Trump. Please! ... This guy is a very dangerous guy."

Iowans should not vote for Trump, he continued, especially considering that they have an opportunity to vote for Ted Cruz.

"This is the guy," Beck said. "I've never felt this way. I've never endorsed anybody. Ever! This is the guy. I truly believe he was raise for this time!"

Conservative Group Tells Iowans Gov't Will Become 'Corrupted' If It’s Not Led By Christians

Sen. Ted Cruz scored a big coup in Iowa last month when he won the endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats, the head of the Iowa Religious Right group The Family Leader and an influential Republican power-broker in the state. Vander Plaats has since been crossing the state to campaign for and with Cruz, even engaging in a Twitter spat with Cruz’s main rival, Donald Trump.

Cruz has been attempting to recruit conservative evangelicals to his side by running explicitly on his personal faith and his Christian-nation views, a strategy exactly designed to appeal to a person like Vander Plaats, who earlier this week urged members of his group to convince their fellow churchgoers to caucus in Iowa because the government’s “God-given purposes easily become corrupted without Christians engaged and guiding it.”

In an email to members of The Family Leader on Monday, Vander Plaats lamented that “hundreds of thousands of Iowa Christians stayed home” during the last presidential caucus. To reverse that trend, he asked members to encourage their pastors to distribute a Family Leader-produced bulletin insert on Sunday urging their flocks to participate in Monday’s caucus.

The bulletin insert offers instructions on how to caucus as well as a list of reasons “why it's important that Christians caucus,” including that it’s necessary to choose “godly candidates” with a “Christian worldview” in order to bring revival to America.

The TFL caucus guide also reminds churchgoers that elected officials are “ministers of God,” and as such, government’s “God-given purposes easily become corrupted without Christians engaged and guiding it.”

Cruz Rallies Christian Right, Slams 'Secular Agenda' At Campaign Stop With James Dobson

At an Iowa campaign stop with influential Religious Right activist James Dobson yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz warned that people of faith have consented to “allow nonbelievers to elect our leaders,” and now a “secular agenda” bent on doing away with the Ten Commandments and stifling religious liberty is on the rise.

Cruz repeated to the audience in Winterset, Iowa, his insistence that an atheist would be unfit to be president , saying, “If you don’t begin every day on your knees asking God for His wisdom and support, I don’t believe you’re fit to do this job.”

He also repeated his assertion that Republicans lost the last two presidential elections because millions of evangelicals stayed at home. “I believe the key to winning in 2016 is very simple,” he said. “We have to bring back to the polls the millions of conservatives who stayed home, we have to awaken and energize the body of Christ.”

“You know,” he said, “we look at our federal government now, and we have a federal government that is waging a war on life, a war on marriage, a war on religious liberty. We have a federal government that is advancing a secular agenda that puts the ability of Bible-believing Christians to live our faith more and more in jeopardy and that is appeasing radical Islamic terrorism, in fact refuses even to acknowledge its name. And if you look at the federal government, you might say, ‘Why do we have government attacking life, attacking marriage, attacking faith, attacking religious liberty?’ Well, is it any wonder, when a majority of believers are staying home? If we allow nonbelievers to elect our leaders, we shouldn’t be surprised when our government doesn’t reflect our values.”

Cruz also doubled down on his criticism of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling , calling both it and the King v. Burwell ruling preserving the Affordable Care Act “fundamentally illegitimate” and “lawless.” He warned that if Hillary Clinton were to become president, the Supreme Court would “tear down our constitutional liberties fundamentally” by ruling against Ten Commandments monuments on public grounds and reversing the Heller decision, which found an individual right to bear arms. (When Cruz said that this meant “the government can make it a felony for you to own a firearm and protect your family,” an audience member yelled out, “Come and take it!”)

Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council who recently endorsed Cruz, also said he was very impressed by the candidate’s wife, Heidi Cruz, saying that “there has never in American history been a pro-life first lady” and that with her we “have a chance to get one this time.”

The Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts recorded the event. Cruz and Dobson discuss prayer about 2 minutes into the video; the “missing” evangelical vote about 6 minutes in; the Supreme court around 13 minutes in; and Heidi Cruz about 24 minutes in.

Santorum: Iowa Christian Right Leader 'Settling' With Cruz Endorsement

Influential Iowa social conservative leader Bob Vander Plaats has, depending on who you ask, either the ability to propel his chosen Republican presidential candidate to a caucus victory or the ability to latch onto the winning campaign. So it was a big deal, if not surprising, when Vander Plaats endorsed Ted Cruz earlier this month, snubbing his 2008 and 2012 picks Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, respectively.

In an interview with conservative Iowa radio host Simon Conway yesterday, Santorum said that Vander Plaats, who heads the group The Family Leader, was “settling” with his pick of Cruz, citing Cruz’s efforts to allow states to ban same-sex marriage rather than controlling marriage on the federal level.

“Look, I understand it,” Santorum said. “Ted’s a fine guy and has really been a scrapper in Washington. I think what Mike and I both feel is that when it comes to the issues that are near and dear to The Family Leader, the family issues, marriage in particular, I think we need a stronger voice, a more principled voice that understands there’s a higher law there that we have to abide by and just because a state wants to do something doesn’t mean a state should be able to.”

This prompted Conway and Santorum to launch into an extended debate about the role of government in marriage, which Conway argued the government should have nothing to do with at all.

Santorum disagreed, saying that the government has a responsibility to ensure the “continuity” of culture, citing low birth rates among native Europeans — the unspoken subtext of which is that low birth rates necessitate greater immigration. “If you look at Europe … they’re decrying the fact that Europe is barren,” he said, "they’re not having children, and the people who are having children are not Europeans, or native Europeans, so you’ve got some really big problems and it’s beginning to occur in this country.”

He added that laws governing marriage also serve to “encourage people to behave the right way” when “fidelity, monogamy are not a natural thing” but “are learned behaviors.”

Ted Cruz Nabs Another Anti-LGBT Endorsement

Ted Cruz won a major victory in his effort to consolidate support from the Religious Right today when he was endorsed by Bob Vander Plaats, who leads the Iowa-based conservative group, The Family Leader.

Vander Plaats, a two-time gubernatorial candidate who in the two previous election cycles backed Iowa caucus winners Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, respectively, offers one of the most highly sought after endorsements in the state: Donald Trump reportedly joked that he would turn his plane around to join The Family Leader’s presidential forum if Vander Plaats would guarantee him his backing.

Vander Plaats is one of several right-wing figures to coalesce behind Cruz, who has attracted the support of ultraconservative activists like Troy Newman, who wishes the government would execute abortion providers; Ron Baity, a pastor who links gay rights to Ebola; Flip Benham, a convicted abortion doctor stalker who holds protests at gay couples’ weddings; Sandy Rios, a virulently anti-LGBT radio host and hate group official; Dick Black, a Virginia lawmaker with noxious views on marital rape and “baby pesticide”; and Cynthia Dunbar, who thinks gay rights advocacy is “the same type of thing that was done in pre-Holocaust Germany.”

While Vander Plaats and Trump would have made a strong team, as they are both birthers who admire Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Iowa activist said that Trump disqualified himself when he failed to show up at last month’s family forum. Instead, Vander Plaats hailed Cruz as “the most consistent and principled conservative who has the ability to not only win Iowa but I believe to win the nomination.”

The importance of Vander Plaats’ endorsement reveals how the GOP has moved ever so steadily to the right, as Vander Plaats is one of the party’s most extreme figures. Vander Plaats, as we’ve reported, may be sought after by GOP candidates but he should not at all be considered part of the political mainstream:

5) Slavery Rhetoric

Warning Republicans not to “abandon their base” by softening their opposition to gay rights, Vander Plaats insists that fighting same-sex marriage is not a losing issue for the GOP. He believes that Republicans should stand up and be proud of their refusal to support marriage equality, just as the party fought to curb slavery during its founding era.

“We actually stand for what God has designed because, just like with slavery, the truth is on our side,” Vander Plaats said last year in an interview with right-wing talk show host Steve Deace. “We can win this battle.”

He told another outlet that Republicans shouldn’t even take the position that the states should decide their own marriage laws since same-sex marriage, like slavery, is unequivocally immoral: “You don’t leave slavery up to the states, nor should you. It’s either right or it’s wrong.” In a speech in 2012, Vander Plaats said that a court ruling in favor of marriage equality should be viewed as judicial overreach on the level of Dred Scott.

During the last presidential primary season, Vander Plaats tried to get Republican candidates to sign a pledge that, among other questionable provisions, suggested that African-American families were more stable under slavery than they are today.

4) Conspiracy Theories

In Vander Plaats’ world, the right to speak freely about “faithful heterosexual monogamy” is under attack, “Sharia Islam” is a menace in American politics and President Obama’s birth certificate is missing. (Vander Plaats has praised Donald Trump’s quixotic birther crusade as “bold.”)

Perhaps no issue has Vander Plaats more concerned than gay marriage, which he has called a grave threat to liberty and a Satanic plot. One video his group produced showed images of terrorist attacks and shootings alongside stories about same-sex couples’ weddings and gay members of the Boy Scouts to make a point about the “darkness” sweeping America

3) Gay Marriage Predictions

In his campaigns against marriage equality, Vander Plaats has done whatever it takes to scare voters about the dire consequences of gay rights. He warned that the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to “tyranny” and sanction “a parent marrying their child.”

He defended his group’s comparison of homosexuality to second-hand smoke by explaining that both represent “a public health risk,” adding: “If we’re teaching the kids, ‘don’t smoke, because that’s a risky health style,’ the same can be true of the homosexual lifestyle.”

Vander Plaats also took the time to criticize an Iowa anti-bullying conference that focused on the targeting of LGBT youth, saying that the state should instead be promoting abstinence-only summits.

2) Crush on Putin

Vander Plaats may still be weighing which Republican candidate to endorse this year, but he has already thrown his support behind one foreign leader: Russian President Vladimir Putin. When Putin signed a law that effectively bans speech in support of gay rights, Vander Plaats praised the Russian president for saying “you know what, don’t bring this homosexual propaganda into my country.”

He said that Putin now encapsulates the traditionally American values of “military might, decisive action, core values, morality, beliefs.”

“He’s taken what used to be our strengths, which has now defaulted into our weaknesses because of Barack Obama, no leadership, and he’s making them his strengths and he’s emerging now on the world stage as a newly discovered leader,” Vander Plaats said back in 2013.

1) No Separation of Church and State

While Vander Plaats’ prediction about gay marriage ushering in adult-child marriage has come true in exactly zero of the dozens of states with marriage equality, he was prophetic in one respect: Vander Plaats advocated for governors to ignore court rulings on the marriage question well before it became a widespread sentiment among conservatives.

Vander Plaats insists that a governor can simply set aside any ruling that violates his or her reading of the Bible, insisting that if a judge legalizes marriage equality in a state, the state’s governor should simply issue an executive order “that places a stay on the judge’s decision” since it “goes against the law of nature and the law of nature’s God, which means, it’s against the Constitution.”

Vander Plaats believes that the U.S. government must fall under God’s jurisdiction and follow “God’s principles and precepts,” not just on social issues like marriage but also in economic and foreign policies.

“If you believe what you say you believe, that marriage is foundational and it’s between a man and a woman, which is what He says he believes, then you got to stand up for that, because that’s the law of nature, that’s the law of nature’s God, that’s the Declaration of Independence, which this whole country was founded on,” he said last year.

Vander Plaats specifically pointed to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, calling it a travesty that created a “constitutional crisis” by “defying the law of nature and the law of nature’s God” and “going against the document that predates the Constitution.”

Iowa GOPer: Execute Certain Undocumented Immigrants Who Try To Reenter The Country

On Monday, the Knoxville Journal Express reported that Iowa State Sen. Mark Chelgren, who this year is challenging Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, for his seat in Congress, suggested that the U.S. use the death penalty to punish undocumented immigrants who commit felonies in the U.S. and later try to reenter the country.

“For border security, Chelgren believes a fence would define the border and control who enters and leaves. If one is found to have crossed into the country illegally, committed a felony while here, then been deported, he supports executing that individual if they break America's immigration laws a second time,” the paper reported.

Chelgren, who has served in the Iowa state senate since 2010, later confirmed his remarks in an interview with the Des Moines Register, saying that he “will be strong on crime” and “make sure that we don’t have criminals coming into the United States and victimizing our citizens.” He said that Democrats were “race-baiting” by criticizing his proposal.

State Sen. Mark Chelgren, a southeast Iowa Republican who is running for Congress, says he favors consideration of capital punishment for criminal immigrants who continually enter the United States illegally.

Iowa Democrats harshly criticized that stance Tuesday, and a spokesman for the Republican Party of Iowa issued a statement disassociating the party with Chelgren's comments.

Chelgren, an Ottumwa businessman, was quoted Monday by the Journal-Express of Knoxville and Marion County as saying that for border security, he believes a fence would define the border and control who enters and leaves. If one is found to have crossed into the country illegally, committed a felony while here, then been deported, he supports executing that individual if he or she breaks U.S. immigration laws a second time, the newspaper said.



Chelgren recently announced plans to seek Iowa's 2nd District U.S. House seat now held by Rep. Dave Loebsack, an Iowa City Democrat. He confirmed the remarks made to the Journal-Express in an interview Tuesday with The Des Moines Register, but he said he was only suggesting that capital punishment be considered narrowly in situations where persons repeatedly enter the United States with the intent of committing terrorism or other felony crimes. He contended that Democratic Party officials were overreacting to his remarks and engaging in "race-baiting."

"I am looking at people who are deported and who re-enter the country illegally. Obviously, I don't want to tear apart families. We need to be sure we are protecting the people of the United States," Chelgren said.

He added, "Of course, I will be strong on crime. I want to make sure that we don't have criminals coming into the United States and victimizing our citizens."

Steve King: Only Ted Cruz Can Save Us From Obama's 'Cultural Suicide' Pills

Rep. Steve King joined conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace last week to discuss his recent endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, which he said was motivated by his confidence that Cruz would appoint conservative Supreme Court justices and reverse President Obama’s attempt to commit “cultural suicide” through immigration.

King, an Iowa Republican, said that aside from the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, his main concern was that America is following in Europe’s footsteps in committing “cultural suicide,” with President Obama administering the suicide pills in the form of refugees and other immigrants.

“I see Europe,” he said, “it’s almost past tense, you can almost say they have committed cultural suicide. And Barack Obama has been feeding us the medication that will bring about cultural suicide in the United States. And we need a president who sees that whole picture and knows that it has to be restored and has an understanding of how to restore the American exceptionalism, constitutional underpinnings and the core of our faith.”

King added that he saw such a “transformation of Western Christendom” in recent visits to immigrant communities in Minneapolis and Dearborn, Michigan, which, he said, highlighted the “demographics” that he hoped a President Ted Cruz could reverse in America.

“By the way, I went up to Minnesota, to Little Mogadishu, to see what that’s like up there,” he said, “and I spent a weekend in Dearborn to see what, again, went to a couple of mosques in there to see the transformation of the United States. And I’ve gone into a number of the major cities in Europe and walked into those no-go zones and walked down through the Muslim neighborhoods and I see the transformation of Western Christendom, and it’s very troubling. And when you look at the demographics, we must do something to reverse this, and [Cruz] is the candidate that I believe [can do it].”

Carly Fiorina: 'People Of Faith Make Better Leaders'

On Friday night, seven Republican presidential hopefuls gathered around a fake Thanksgiving table in Des Moines, Iowa, for a "Presidential Family Forum" hosted by The Family Leader, an influential Religious Right organization headed by Bob Vander Plaats.

Moderator Frank Luntz promised the event would be an "adult conversation" about the issues important to the conservative Christian activists in the audience and the candidates bent over backwards to appeal to these voters, with Carly Fiorina declaring at one point that all the people on stage, as well as all the people in the audience, "are people of faith who love our God" and that is important because "people of faith make better leaders."

"I do think it's worth saying," Fiorina declared, "that people of faith make better leaders because faith gives us humility, faith teaches us that no one of us is greater than any other one of us, that each of us are gifted by God. Faith gives us empathy; we know that all of us can fall and every one of us can be redeemed. And faith gives us optimism, it gives us the belief that there is something better, that there is someone bigger than all of us. And so I think it's important that we elect a leader of faith and that we elect a leader, as well, who knows that more prayer, not less, is necessary in public life and in all our lives."

Luntz then followed up on Fiorina's statement by declaring that "I can back that up statistically," asserting that "every single positive factor that you can describe is directly correlated to someone's relationship with faith, with God, and all the pathologies that you would criticize are directly related to a rejection of God."

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