Top Iowa Republicans distanced themselves from comments President Donald Trump reportedly made Thursday about Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, along with Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, said Friday they didn’t have firsthand knowledge of the quotes, but added they were not in agreement with the comments reported.
“I don’t think it’s acceptable. That’s not who we are Iowans,” Reynolds said in an interview in Davenport, where she was promoting her Condition of the State address.
In Council Bluffs, at a stop at Rasmussen Mechanical Services, Grassley was asked about the comment during a question-and-answer session with employees.
“Well, I wasn’t there, so I know what you folks and journalists have said about it and TV has said about it,” Grassley said.
“But I think I better just say that those aren’t words that I would use, and I think that you ought to consider all of humanity (as) humanity and treat them accordingly,” Grassley said, according to a recording provided by his office.
Grassley added the comments distract from Congress coming to an agreement on a range of immigration-related issues.
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Leigh Claffey, a spokesperson for Ernst, said in an email that Ernst “was not in the room and cannot confirm what was said; however, she would not agree. Sen. Ernst has made clear that America has been, and always will be, a nation of immigrants.”
U.S. Steve King of Iowa, known for his conservative views on immigration, tweeted Friday morning:
“Hang in there Mr. President @realDonaldTrump. If those countries aren’t as you described, Democrats should be happy to deport criminal aliens back to them. &End #AnchorBabies, too.”
The last part of King’s tweet refers to children born in the United States to undocumented immigrants and who are, by birthright, U.S. citizens — “anchor babies” — a situation immigration foes want changed.