Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King said Thursday that “a spell’s been cast” over his colleagues in the Republican Party to make them support the Senate’s immigration bill.
King has been one of the most vocal opponents of immigration reform, making waves before Congress left for recess when he made a floor speech comparing young, undocumented immigrants to drug mules with “calves the size of cantaloupes.”
Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” Thursday morning, King argued that he still had the same position he always had, and that it was other members of his party who had moved on the issue.
“Last year, almost everybody in my conference would have agreed with me on this immigration issue. And this year, it seems as though after the presidential election a spell’s been cast over a good number of Republicans, and they seem to think the presidential election was about immigration,” King said.
“I’d ask them, find me that debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama that addressed immigration,” he added. “I don’t remember it. I can’t find it. The election was about jobs and the economy, not immigration. And yet some Republican strategists and leadership have decided let’s just go ahead and debate immigration for twelve months and then we’ll see if we can solve the problem.”
King also questioned whether House Republican leadership was really against him in this battle.
“The statements that have been released by [House leadership] have been by their staffs,” King said. “There’s no audio or video of either the speaker or the leader making a critical comment of me.”
In fact, speaker of the House John Boehner publicly criticized the remarks at a press conference on July 25, calling them “deeply offensive and wrong.”
Since leaving for August recess, several House Republicans have said they would support a pathway to citizenship — a key component in the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate.