Greene County High School senior Haley Hall (right) shares a laugh Monday in Clover Hall with U.S. Rep. Steve King after his remarks to the Greene County Republican Party.
Greene County High School senior Haley Hall (right) shares a laugh Monday in Clover Hall with U.S. Rep. Steve King after his remarks to the Greene County Republican Party.

August 25, 2016

U.S. Rep. Steve King is nothing if not a Southern gentleman.

Toward the end of an evening at the Greene County Fairgrounds in which Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was alternately referred to as the “queen of corruption” or simply just “that woman,” it could have been expected of the controversial congressman to really pile on.

Instead, he stood Monday before the Greene County Republican Party’s fall fundraiser in his black cowboy boots and uncharacteristically took the high road.

“I’m not about to declare war on anybody who could be the president of the United States of America,” King said.

“We have to figure out how to do what’s best for America,” he added, just in case anybody in Clover Hall was thinking of getting a rope.

King, of course, isn’t technically a Southern gentleman. He’s actually a western Iowa businessman who just happens to display a little Confederate flag on his desk in Washington, the subject of his most recent national flap. (Or was that two flaps ago?)

Here in the blood-red 4th District of Iowa, which stretches clear from Sioux City to Ames, King is virtually untouchable.

Like Godzilla walking over a Japanese tank battalion, he won a primary challenge — from a conservative state senator initially predicted to be a contender — in June with 64.7 percent of the vote.

On Monday evening in Jefferson, King didn’t once mention his bid for re-election in November against Sheldon Democrat Kim Weaver.

We’ve all seen that movie before.

It never bodes well for his foe.

Rather, it was business as usual for King — local Republicans gave him a standing ovation when he was done — about illegal immigration and radical Islamic jihadism.

While King served as national co-chairman of Ted Cruz’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination, he has since come around on Donald Trump, his party’s nominee for president.

It would seem that Trump is a businessman this businessman can do business with.

Trump wants a wall.

King wants a wall.

For everything else, King is satisfied by the presence of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a “solid Constitutionalist and a faithful Christian man,” on Trump’s ticket as vice president.

“We’re on the cusp of being able to do this,” King said of a  wall along the Southern border of the U.S. to keep out illegal immigrants.

King, however, already has moved on from just talking about it.

As a man who founded his own construction business, King Construction, with a single bulldozer, he boasted Monday of having a conceptual scale-model of a wall in his office.

Of course, he also said Monday he has a world map in which he’s redrawn the Middle and Far East in a way to defeat radical Islamic jihadism.

King is convinced Trump is the man who can protect the nation’s Southern border with Mexico.

He said it’s a crime to unlawfully enter the United States, and that it’s also illegal to overstay a visa.

Say nothing of those Mexicans with calves the size of cantaloupes.

“They’re criminals by the very definition,” King said.

Amnesty doesn’t work, he said, because “you get to keep the objective of your crime” — like a bank robber keeping his loot.

In this case, they get to stay in the U.S.

It would be more efficient, he said, to build the wall than to keep spending millions to guard the border.

Every night, he said, a group of illegal immigrants enters the U.S. twice the size of the Mexican army commanded by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna that laid siege to the Alamo in 1836.

The critics who say a 2,000-mile-long wall can’t be built are wrong, King said.

“How long is the Interstate across America?” he asked. “How long is the Great Wall of China?”

Citing his family construction business, he said it’s also a myth that Americans won’t do hard work.

On the war against radical Islamic jihadism, King said the U.S. must defeat a “stone age” ideology “based on hatred and death.”

He again addressed critics who say an ideology can’t be defeated.

“Tell that to the Japanese,” King said. “They embraced Western civilization. Now they’re one of us.”

Tamara Scott, a member of the Republican National Committee from Iowa in attendance Monday, took the microphone in Clover Hall clutching a copy of a book titled “Sharia in American Courts,” as in the Islamic law that some conservatives see oozing into the cracks of everyday American life.

Other speakers Monday included Greene County’s state legislators, Sen. Jerry Behn and Rep. Chip Baltimore, and candidates for county supervisor and sheriff.

Republican Greene County Supervisor John Muir, who’s up for re-election, acknowledged a series of “ugly” public hearings in recent days over proposed hog confinements in the county.

He referenced critics of hog confinements.

“I think they’ve lost sight that there are constituents on the other side of the argument,” he said.

Muir said the board of supervisors strives for balance.

Pigs, though, are of no real consequence in the bleak world envisioned by Scott, the national committeewoman who likened the bold and brash Trump to a bold and brash leader during another dire time in history, Winston Churchill.

She predicted that Americans are going to side with Trump at the polls in November.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement out there that the media doesn’t want you to know about,” she said.

But in a world fraught with dangerous unknowns, it was King who urged local Republicans to do their part.

“Have a lot of babies,” he said, “and raise ’em right.”