Rep. Steve King, who himself came under fire for making controversial comments concerning immigrants, says he appreciates Donald Trump's "scrappiness" and that there is truth behind his comments on Mexicans.
"It would be nice if we could always talk nice about these things," the Iowa Republican told CNN "New Day"
host Chris Cuomo on Wednesday. "I have done that a lot, but I never get quoted [for that]."
In 2013, King was slammed after telling Newsmax TV
that when it comes to Mexican immigrants, "for everyone 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."
On Wednesday, when Cuomo asked King if he'd advise Trump not to paint immigrants "in the ugliest way," King responded that he appreciates how the real estate mogul-turned-GOP-candidate "counterattacks and plunges forward and delivers more facts to support the statements he's made."
While officially announcing his candidacy on June 16, Trump accused Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to the United States, saying "they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting."
Last week, the Spanish-language network Univision
said it would not air the Miss USA pageant and would sever ties with the Miss Universe Organization, which had been a joint venture between Trump and Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, in light of his "recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants."
NBC also cut ties with the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants on Monday. Trump has filed a half-billion dollar lawsuit against Univision.
King told Cuomo that he heard Trump speak in Iowa on Saturday, when he commented that 80 percent of the children coming into the United States illegally from Central America are sexually molested.
"I have been down to the border and the number I come back with is 75 percent are sexually abused on the way to the United States," said King. "I say in Donald Trump's defense, somebody is doing that to the kids being raped and abused. It's reasonable to conclude they are Mexicans."
King also pointed out that Trump didn't say "most" Mexicans are rapists, "he said they are, he's speaking generally of the criminals that are doing this ... somebody is doing that. You can't be a rape victim without having a rapist."
The Iowa lawmaker also railed against last week's Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage
, saying the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment does not come into play in this case.
"For the Supreme Court to take the decision that somehow the people that voted to ratify the 14th Amendment in 1868" meant for us to "come to the realization they wrote same-sex marriage into that" is ridiculous, said King.
"No one that voted to ratify that gave it a thought or, if they gave it a thought, they weren't thinking they were writing it about that."
The 13th and 14th Amendments were ratified to "end slavery and make sure there were equal rights for people, all people, all God's children with [human] characteristics, not self-proclaimed characteristics. That's the distinction here."
He told Cuomo that a similar argument occurred in Iowa, and "the Constitution does not provide a right to marriage, even though the Supreme Court says it does, it does not."
And if Congress decided to pass such a law that mirrored what the Supreme Court has "wrongly ordered," it would be unconstitutional, King said.
"We don't have the authority to impose same-sex marriage," he told Cuomo. "If the states should make those decisions within their legislatures, they do have the constitutional right to pass same-sex marriage within the states and they have a right to recognize it."
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