Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingGOP brawls over Trump on eve of first Jan. 6 hearing Pence to visit Iowa to headline event for congressman Former Steve King challenger on rural voters in GOP states: 'They hate Democrats' MORE (R-Iowa) said on Wednesday that he admires Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE’s “scrappiness” and defended the GOP presidential candidate’s comments on illegal immigration.

“I would say to Donald Trump, I appreciate the scrappiness of him … when he’s attacked by other people, he counterattacks and plunges forward and he delivers more facts to support the statement that he’s made,” King told host Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day.”


King then defended Trump’s controversial remarks on Hispanic immigrants earlier this month.

The Iowa lawmaker said that his experiences with border security had convinced him Trump is more accurate than not.

“You know, I heard that Donald Trump just on Saturday night, here in Iowa, made a statement, that he pointed out about how many of these kids that are coming into the United States from Central America are sexually violated and raped. He said 80 percent,” King said.

“I’ve been down to the border and checked across these places, the number I come back with is 75 percent are sexually abused on the way to the United States,” he said.

“I’d say in Donald Trump’s defense, someone’s doing that to these kids that are being raped and abused,” King added.

“And, when they’re coming across Mexico, it’s a reasonable assumption to conclude the people doing that are Mexicans.”


Trump offended some listeners with his comments on Hispanic immigrants during his formal campaign launch in New York two weeks ago.

“They’re sending people who have a lot of problems,” Trump said of illegal immigrants from Mexico.

“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he added.

King said on Wednesday that some of Trump’s remarks have been taken out of context.

“Well, I think what happens is that it gets distorted, perhaps a little bit, on both sides of this,” he said.

--This report was updated at 12:48 p.m.