08/15/2013 01:36 pm ET Updated Aug 15, 2013

Steve King: 'A Spell's Been Cast' On Republican Critics

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) took to the airwaves to defend his stance on immigration reform Thursday morning, explaining that Republican critics who would have agreed with him prior to the 2012 presidential election are now under a "spell."

During an appearance on CNN's "New Day", the congressman discussed his controversial comments made in July characterizing young immigrants as drug mules and the subsequent backlash from GOP leadership.

"Last year, almost everybody in my conference would've agreed with me on this immigration issue," said King, noting that statements criticizing his remarks released by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) were penned by staff members, not the lawmakers themselves. "It seems as though after the presidential election, a spell's been cast over a good number of Republicans, and they seem to think the presidential election was about immigration."

King, who held an anti-immigration reform rally in Cantor's district earlier this week, believes that the rift between GOP leadership and himself is the result of a larger Republican effort to salvage Hispanic support after the 2012 presidential election.

"They seem to do that calculation that we should sacrifice the rule of law by granting amnesty," King said. "No spell has been cast over me, it doesn't seem to be logical or rational to me that this is the right thing to do."

"The valedictorians who would be the beneficiaries of the Dream Act tug at my heartstrings. My heart bleeds for them as well," explained King, maintaining that he simply wants to bring facts to the discussion. "I think [immigrant populations] are just as blessed as all the rest of us, and we should treat them as God's children -- all of us -- and not do identity politics."


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