Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Thursday accused President Barack Obama of borrowing money from China in order to be able to prevent elderly veterans from being able to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. during the government shutdown that was Republicans forced in hopes of derailing the health care reform law.
In an interview on CNN, host Carol Costello pointed out that Goldman Sachs and the CEO of Coke directly contradicted King’s claim that the “alarm about default [on U.S. debt] is just false.”
“Just flirting with the debt ceiling [in 2011], I just illustrated what happened to the economy, the Dow dropped more than 850 points,” she reminded the congressman. “For the first time in history, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the USA triple-A credit rating. Are we just to ignore these things?”
“We raised the debt ceiling, and if my memory serves me correctly, the downgrade came after that,” King replied. “And people still blamed it on the tea party. So on some of this, you just can’t win… Let me suggest this simple axiom of economics: If you have good credit, if you spend within your means, if you spend no more than what you bring in, you will have the best credit rating. And so if we demonstrate that we’re going to be fiscally responsible here in Congress, that’s going to improve our credit rating, it’s not going to diminish it in the long run.”
“But we’ve already spent the money and you guys approved spending that money,” Costello noted. “And now it’s time to pay your bills. That would be like me looking at my American Express card and saying, ‘I really don’t want to pay that right now because I think I should demonstrate that I’m fiscally responsible.’”
“The ‘you guys voted to spend that money’ really isn’t true,” King insisted. “There have been [those] who left us in this Congress who put automatic spending in place, $105 billion in automatic spending in Obamacare. I didn’t vote for that.”
Costello wondered what King was going to tell his constituents who might not get their Social Security checks if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised.
King, however, refused to accept that Social Security checks were at risks because “the president has the authority to choose those priorities.”
“He’s going to try to punish the American people,” the Iowa Republican added. “This is a spiteful president, Carol. And the American people need to understand that too. Trying to run a government with a spiteful president that locks our veterans out of their World War II Memorial, when there’s never been barricades around there before — borrowing money from the Chinese to rent barricades to call guards off of furlough to deny access to World War II memorial.”
The controversy over the over the memorial began after the government shut down last week and Republican lawmakers like King, Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) took photos with a number of elderly veterans who were denied entry. The National Park Service later announced that the World War II Memorial would remain open to veterans only during the shutdown.
Although the memorial was closed by a shutdown forced by Republican, King insisted to Costello that it had happened because the president was “spiteful, he’s trying to teach America a lesson.”
“Well, I will only say, what did you expect would happen with a partial government shutdown?” Costello wondered. “That nothing would be closed down, that everything Americans like would remain up and running? Is that what you expected?”
“Whatever I expected, there’s a right and there’s a wrong,” King quipped. “Do you think that the president could maybe cut back on his golf game and let some kids in the White House? He’s doing this for spite.”
Watch this video from CNN’s Newsroom, broadcast Oct. 10, 2013.