Steve King Helps Ted Cruz Make Pitch to House Conservatives
Two days after endorsing Ted Cruz for president, Iowa Rep. Steve King stepped into the role of active surrogate Wednesday morning in a meeting with conservative House members.
“A group of especially House conservatives, but House Republicans of all stripes, met this morning and had an in-depth look at the Cruz campaign, and had an opportunity to ask any kind of questions they wanted to ask in a closed-door session with Sen. Cruz,” King said outside the Capitol Hill Club.
King, who endorsed the Texas Republican Monday in Des Moines, Iowa, said he’s prepared to do whatever he can to back Cruz in Iowa ahead of the state’s caucuses, or anywhere else.
“It isn’t just something where I want my name on a piece of paper,” King told reporters. “In fact, if it doesn’t show up on a piece of paper, that’s OK with me. I want to go everywhere, all the time, and campaign for this man for president of the United States.”
The Cruz campaign said it welcomed King’s enthusiastic support.
King’s endorsement came amid a dispute over Cruz’s immigration record. King is among the most vocal on the right pushing a more restrictive view of immigration.
Speaking with reporters after the meeting with Republican House members, Cruz pivoted back to immigration in response to a question about criticism from fellow presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., about his record on surveillance policy.
“I don’t think it’s surprising at all that the Rubio campaign is trying very, very hard to change the topic of discussion away from Marco’s longtime support and partnership with [Charles E.] Schumer and Barack Obama, pushing a massive amnesty,” Cruz said.
After Cruz departed, King dismissed concerns about Cruz’s immigration record, pointing to Sen. Jeff Sessions’s, R-Ala., support for proposals Cruz offered during the Senate’s immigration debate.
“I think that Jeff Sessions and I stand about as close to the same shoes on this issue as any two people in this Congress do, and Jeff Sessions voted with Ted Cruz each time on those amendments,” King said.
King said he thought Iowa’s evangelical voters could back Cruz, particularly as foreign policy gets more attention.
“I think over time, they’re going to look at ISIS, they’re going to look at the foreign policy and national security of this,” King said. “I, for three or more years, have been lifting this up. It needs to be a more important component of the presidential campaign than it’s been in past ones. They always say, you know, Tip O’Neill, all politics are local. They are always domestic decisions. Well, not when you’re at war.”
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