In the wake of the deadly mass shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, a number of Republicans have begun to use the issue to try and pivot from their failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform and to claim that they’re on the right track.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is using the issue as a wedge to try to take down Rep. Steve Scalise, R.
La., over his support for immigration reform.
The House Majority Leader told CNN on Monday that Scalise’s support for border security measures is a reason for the congressman’s resignation.
“I think it’s going to get a lot more attention than the other issues that we have, but it’s not the only issue,” he said.
“We have to get people back to work, and that’s why we have a border security program that allows people to come here without fear of being deported.
And we’re not going to be able to do that with border security alone.”
But when King asked reporters why he would use the shooting as an excuse to keep Scalise out of the House, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R.-Ill., the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, jumped in.
“We are going to have a tough fight on health care,” Kinz, the ranking member on the panel, said.
Kinzinger’s remarks came after GOP Rep. John Fleming, R., and Rep. Pete Sessions, R, both of whom have been criticized for supporting immigration reform, both told reporters Monday that the shooting had nothing to do with the legislation.
“It is very much not about immigration reform,” Fleming said.
“When I see that people are trying to blame immigration reform for this tragedy, I think it makes me feel better,” Sessions said.
But when asked why he’s still backing Scalise for the job, Kinz said that Scalises “was a very effective member of the Republican caucus for a long time.”
“He had strong leadership skills,” Kinza said.
While Scalise and Sessions have been outspoken on immigration reform in recent days, King, who has criticized Trump, has been relatively quiet on the issue.
When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper about Scalise being a possible target for Democrats, King responded, “It’s not just him.”
King and other Republicans have been taking a hard line on immigration, especially after a deadly weekend in California when a man opened fire on a crowd of people protesting immigration reform legislation, killing six and wounding 19.
While some have expressed concern about Trump’s support of immigration reform as a way to draw votes away from the GOP, King said on ABC’s “This Week” that he does not believe immigration reform is a wedge and he believes Trump should stay out of it.
King has been a strong supporter of Trump’s agenda, especially his agenda to cut taxes for the wealthy, build a wall on the border and deport undocumented immigrants, but he has said that he believes immigration reform will ultimately fail.