Republican leaders are already facing the possibility that Hillary Clinton will win the White House in November. Now they may be weighing what comes next.
Very conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) just suggested — in public — he could work with Clinton if she were president.
"I’ve sat across the table with Hillary Clinton eye-to-eye, and when you’re working outside of staff and outside of the press she is somebody I can work with," King said Thursday at the Iowa State Fair, according to Jason Noble of the Des Moines Register.
Here's the full quote:
King reiterated to Noble he would definitely be voting for Trump. The congressman is one of the most vocal (and often controversial) members of the Republican Party — someone who's on the opposite side of the political spectrum of Clinton on just about every issue being raised this presidential election.
Other Republican figures past and present have gone further, defecting from the party and endorsing the other party's candidate to an unprecedented degree. Some two-dozen-plus officials from both Bush administrations, business leaders and Republican donors, political operatives and former elected officials have also endorsed Clinton. There are so many that we made a running list.
Most recently, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Tuesday she couldn't vote for Trump. To some degree, Collins's announcement wasn't a huge surprise. She is one of — if not the — most moderate Republican members of the Senate, and she had said before she might vote for Clinton. (Collins circled back to that this week and assured Republicans she wouldn't be.)
Then again, as of right now only one Republican House lawmaker, retiring Rep. Richard L. Hanna (N.Y.), has explicitly endorsed Clinton.
King, we should note, was originally a fan of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), so he's not the most active member of Team Trump.
But he is a staunch anti-illegal-immigration activist, a man who represents an element of the Republican Party that most establishment Republicans would rather not shine a light on, and that even he would say something nice about Clinton in this moment gives us a sense of just how much at arms length the Republican Party is putting Donald Trump.
Clinton herself had a track record of working with and winning over GOP adversaries during her time on Capitol Hill — including those who had voted for her husband's impeachment. It's a very different era, but King's attitude is a reminder that for more than a few Hill Republicans, a Trump loss might not be entirely devastating.