NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Long Island Congressman Peter King told CBS 2 and 1010 WINS on Thursday he’s considering a run for the White House.
King, a Republican, has represented parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties for 20 years. He just finished up a term as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
King spoke to CBS 2’s Tony Aiello on Thursday afternoon from Washington D.C. He said some big Republicans, including a former attorney general, have convinced him to consider a run in 2016.
“I would be a strong voice on national defense, counterterrorism, also be able to reach into what we used to call the ‘Reagan Democrats,’” King told Aiello.
“As Republicans we should be making real inroads into organized labor, the construction unions, into the police officers, the firefighters. These are people that we should not be writing off and should be making part of our coalition as Ronald Reagan did,” Rep. King told 1010 WINS.
Congressman King said it’s early and informal, but he’s serious. He also said if nothing else, a run for the GOP nomination gives him a platform to push back against what he considers an isolationist trend in his party.
“I think the party is being defined too much by what I would call isolationists, people who don’t realize we have a real national defense role in the world. We have an Islamic terror enemy that’s out to destroy us. And also by people who are too willing to write off what should be basic strengths of the Republican Party,” King said.
King said he likes two potential Republican candidates – former governor Jeb Bush of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, but said there’s no GOP candidate out there talking national defense.
He said he’s worried about GOP firebrand Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas.
“The Republican Party, which had been the party of Eisenhower and Reagan, very strong on national defense, is becoming very isolationist, getting away from our core principles, as far as having a strong foreign policy. And I want to be out there to influence that, and if that means running for president, then so be it,” King told 1010 WINS.
King said he knows it’s difficult for any member of the House of Representatives to win a presidential nomination, but he joked that anything can happen because, he said, the United States is a great country.
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