“I am just a big fan in what he stands for.”
— Donald Trump, joint interview with Rep. Steve King on Iowa’s “Mickelson in the Morning,” Oct. 14, 2014
In the New York Times interview that caused a firestorm, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) says he once told President Trump: “I market-tested your immigration policy for 14 years.”
After all, King was advocating for a border wall — a “King wall” as he called it — as early as 2006, almost 10 years before the concept of a wall along the southern border turned up in Trump’s announcement that he was running for president.
But the symbiotic relationship has come under strain after King was quoted in the New York Times article as saying: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
After that quote was publicized, House Republicans stripped King of his committee memberships and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders labeled his comments as “abhorrent.” Trump himself has not commented on the controversy. But attention anew has been focused on how Trump and King have often echoed each other in their public statements.
As a reader service, we have assembled some of these quotes so readers can judge for themselves.
In the wake of the violent encounter during a white supremacist rally at Charlottesville, both Trump and King suggested attendees at the Unite the Right rally were mostly motivated by a concern for Civil War symbolism.
“Let’s put that stuff behind us in history. The Civil War was history, the Confederacy was history. There’s a symbol there that means slavery to some, but it means a historical pride in the South to others, and we should be able to look at it as history. It hasn’t been a problem for 150 years. Why it emerges now? It looks like it’s politically driven.”
— King, interview on Iowa’s KCCI, Aug. 28, 2017
“Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week, it’s Robert E. Lee, I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
— Trump, remarks to reporters, Aug. 15, 2017
George Soros is a Jewish Hungarian American who supports a range of liberal groups and causes — and has been cast as the antagonist of conspiracy theories large and small circulating on the right for more than a decade. Both King and Trump have suggested Soros is a source of mysterious money.
“His money floats in in such a way you can’t see the flow but if you trace it back, you can connect it to his foundation.”
— King, interview with Austrian far-right Unzensuriert website, Aug. 24, 2018
“When you see their signs, you notice yesterday — I talked about the signs all week, today they’re all different because they said oh, we can’t do the same sign made by a manufacturer, paid for by Soros or whoever.”
— Trump, remarks to reporters, Oct. 6, 2018
Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Both men have been big defenders of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, arguing he was the victim of politically motivated prosecution. Trump pardoned Arpaio after his conviction for criminal contempt of court, a decision celebrated by King.
“They set up what I thought of as a witch hunt, starting with the verbal hounding on the Judiciary Committee and then the Justice Department went after him.”
— King, interview on C-SPAN, Sept. 8, 2017
“He’s done a great job for the people of Arizona. He’s very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration. He is loved in Arizona. I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down with their big decision to go get him right before the election voting started.”
— Trump, remarks to reporters, Aug. 28, 2017
Trump and King have both celebrated “Western civilization” — what some view as code for white-led society — as the most positive force for good in the world.
“This old white people business, though, does get a little tired. … I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
— King, remarks on MSNBC, July 16, 2016
“I will work with our allies to reinvigorate Western values and institutions. Instead of trying to spread universal values that not everybody shares or wants, we should understand that strengthening and promoting Western civilization and its accomplishments will do more to inspire positive reforms around the world than military interventions.”
— Trump, campaign speech at Mayflower Hotel, April 27, 2016
Trump terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and King has long been opposed to it. Trump has shown more sympathy for people who qualify for DACA — people who came to the United States illegally as children — but both men have noted that DACA might give citizenship to drug dealers or other nefarious elements.
“Some of these kids are good kids. It’s not their fault. Yes, there’s some really good kids that are part of this, and it’s too bad they are caught in this flux that we are in. But by the same token you will also be legalizing those people who are breaking our laws in a very bad way — smuggling drugs.”
— King, interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, July 25, 2013
“In many cases, not in all cases. And some of the cases, having DACA and they’re gang members and they’re drug dealers, too. But you have some absolutely, incredible kids, I would say mostly. They were brought here in such a way — it’s a very — it’s a very, very tough subject.”
— Trump, in remarks to reporters, Feb. 16, 2017
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