On the heels of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s shocking defeat
by little known tea party candidate Dave Brat in the Virginia primary, the GOP needs to regroup, U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York said this morning on Newsmax TV’s
King, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the Republican Party needs to analyze what went wrong for Cantor, but that the resounding message was “an anger toward Washington.”
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“It was a very tough election,” King told hosts J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman. “Obviously we’re going through a transition in the party.”
The GOP is responsible for an appropriations bill that needs to get done over the summer, King said, and while there is substantial turmoil within the party, the first responsibility is to “make sure the government works.”
“There's very strong difference on a lot of key issues,” he said. “We have to make sure in this philosophical dispute we may be having we don't let the government collapse. “
Asked whether he thinks Cantor will step down as the House Majority Leader, King said probably so -- to make the transition easier both for himself and the party as a whole – but that he worries about a “hardline tea party person” taking the helm in the current atmosphere.
“We have November and December for intra-party elections,” he explained. “Right now have to make sure we get done what we have to get done and not tear the party apart.”
King also weighed in on today’s scheduled testimony before the House Armed Services Committee to discuss the swap of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five members of the Taliban who were released from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“He's going to try to defend what administration did,” King said. “He's going to say that this was their last chance to get Bergdahl. I don't believe that. I've been at two classified and top secret on the Intelligence Committee and the other one was all the House members, a classified level and there's been nothing said in those hearings that you haven’t heard publicly. There is no secret answer here.
“The American people know publicly 99 percent of the facts that are key to this case,” he added “There is no excuse. There is no rationale for what the president did.”
He slammed Secretary of State John Kerry for telling the American people that they don’t need to worry that the five senior Taliban officials will return to battle and cautioned Hagel to fall on the sword for President Obama’s decision.
“[Hagel] should watch that he's not put in that position by the administration,” King said. “The only role that Chuck Hagel would have had here was I believe the defense secretary has to be one of those who signs off. He's not going to sign off unless the President of the United States tells him to.
"No, this is President Obama's decision. He's the one who walked out in the Rose Garden with the mother and father. He has to assume full, full responsibility for it.”
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