NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– WCBS 880 reporter Steve Scott sat down with current U.S. Representative for New York’s Second congressional district, Pete King. The Republican congressman discussed the 2016 presidential election, New York security, and more in an exclusive WCBS 880 conversation.
When it comes to the race to the White House, King acknowledges that Trump is doing well, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan either.
“I’ve endorsed Marco Rubio, but I can tell you right now that Donald Trump has the inside track. Marco has to take Florida and Kasich would have to take Ohio, that’s the only way to slow Donald Trump down. Even then he still would be the favorite, but it’s not over yet. This year, no one knows what’s going to happen,” King said.
So as a Republican politician serving his twelfth term in the House of Representatives, how does King describe Trump’s success in recent primaries?
“It’s difficult because no one saw it coming. I can’t think of any political person I know or anyone in the media that saw this coming. I would say Donald Trump has tapped into an anger that’s out there,” King said. “He’s not really running as a conservative… if you took his name away and you listed five or six of his positions, he could be a left-wing Democrat. I mean he’s really appealing to anger that’s there.”
King said it’s Trump’s outspoken and rough demeanor that has appealed to voters and even though he doesn’t support the nominee, in some ways his success “makes sense.”
“The two things that people are most critical of when you talk about Congress are that you can’t compromise… The second thing they say is you guys can’t work together and you can’t compromise, and if you do compromise, then they say you’re a sell-out. I think the anger isn’t always channeled in the right way. I don’t think Donald Trump is doing anything to channel that appropriately; we’re not coming up with any real alternatives,” he said.
If Trump did make it to the White House, would his character cause problems with lawmakers?
“We’ve never had something like this before… Donald Trump is used to running a family-owned business where he can hire and fire and give orders, file for bankruptcy, do whatever he wants to do. In Washington, we intentionally have a separation of powers and it’s hard to get things done. I don’t know if Donald Trump is geared for that,” King said.
King is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He weighed in on President Obama’s proposal for a 50 percent cut in the New York region’s homeland security budget.
“The president is wrong… They must know that we’re going to get at least 95 percent of what we’re looking for. Here we have New York, Long Island, northern New Jersey, the number one terrorist targets in the world. Without going into detail I’ve seen all the different evaluations and formulas they have… We have everything in New York that the terrorists hate, different religions, iconic structures, the subway. It’s the federal government’s job to protect us against an attack,” King said.
You can check out Steve Scott’s full interview with Rep. King in the video above.