Just Asking: Congressman Steve King is not Stephen King


(Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
Joe Heim
Writer and editor April 18

Rep. Steve King, from Iowa’s 4th District, was first elected to Congress in 2002.

In December you met with other lawmakers to discuss whether President Obama should be impeached. Do you think he should?

Joe Heim is an editor and writer for The Washington Post magazine. He has recently written about the role of presidents as consolers-in-chief and about Washingtonians personal experiences with gun violence. View Archive

No, I don’t think there’s a practical solution to go down that path. I think he’s violated the Constitution clearly a number of times, and I think he’s done it willfully and he knows better. I think he also knows that this Congress, at this point, doesn’t have the will within it to restrain him.

If the president invited you over for lunch, how do you think that would go?

I personally like the president. There’s nothing about his personality that rubs me wrong; it’s his philosophy that I completely disagree with. When we end up face to face and make eye contact, he’s been pretty humorous about it. I can think of one occasion when we were at a rope line, and the presidential photographer was taking pictures of every handshake along the way. And the president shook hands with me and looked at me with this great big smile, and he says, “We’ll try not to let this picture out.”

What are your constituents most proud of you for accomplishing?

A majority of [my constituents] share a sense of Iowa values. It’s family and it’s faith and it’s a work ethic that we have. It’s being kind to our neighbor and helping to work make the world a better place.

Last year, speaking about illegal immigrants, you said, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” People called on you to apologize, but you never did. Why not?

Well, I think that my critics should apologize for their misunderstanding of the language and the culture. My statement didn’t even reference illegal immigrants. It was a statement about drug smugglers. We are seeing a dramatic increase in youth who are coming across the border smuggling drugs into the United States. I don’t really understand why there was any outrage.

The Iowa caucuses are less than two years away. Who’s the Republican leader you’re most excited to see come out to Iowa and test the water?

I want to see them all come out. It develops and shapes the candidate. But I will say that as I look at this, Ted Cruz has hit the right note over and over again.

Finally, do you still hear jokes about you and Stephen King, the writer?

Every once in a while, someone will send out a derogatory attack saying the Steve King in Congress is scarier than the one in Maine. Well, that’s a matter of opinion. [Laughs] You shouldn’t be scared by either one of us, actually.

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