King defends Hastert, quesions media “feeding frenzy” on Foley story

Congressman Steve King had a telephone conference call this morning and he disuccsed the scandal spawed by "instant messages" sent by the now-former Congressman Mark Foley of Florida.  The transcript of that conversation follows:

Sioux City Journal reporter Bret Hayworth:  "Do you like the chances of the House staying Republican?"

King:  "I liked ’em better about four or five days ago.  I don’t know.  I have to get a measure on this fall-out that’s taking place right now.  You know, I liked the chances a week ago and when I got up last Friday morning and went into the capitol, in fact, up until after noon sometime."

Hayworth:  "Are you referencing the Foley…?"

King:  "…Yes and I was confident at that point and you know, you see race after race was coming out of play and the members I’m talking to, those that are in-play, we’re always bracing them up and getting a feel for how their races are going and I think that Democrats had essentially given up on the idea that they were going to hand the gavel to Nancy Pelosi and now with this Foley issue erupting and I’m really quite taken aback at the response that’s out there in the media and so I don’t know how to measure it.  I would have never thought that incident which got Foley off the stage and it should have and he resigned within minutes and he should have and they went to his office and took his nameplate off the door as quick as they could find a screwdriver, so all those things needed to happen and Denny Hastert spoke up and renounced it and said I would have asked for his explusion if I would have seen those instant messages or even known that they existed.  He did not.  None of the leaders did so if this national news media feeding frenzy, this hyperventilation is continued between now and November 7 then I think that the majority’s probably going to be in more risk than it was a week ago."

Hayworth:  "So it has nothing to do with issues, it’s just this one personal issue, perhaps criminal issue that could be blowing up and impact all the elections?"

King;  "Well, it seems to me that this got launched in the media and it got legs a lot faster and a lot harder than I expected that it would.  I thought it might be a 48 hour story and you know it probably should have been but when you see something like the Washington Times come out and editorialize and call for the resignation from the speaker’s office, not from congress, of our speaker, Denny Hastert, I’d like to have thought the Washington Times was more objective than that.  When I look at this, the speaker only knew that there had been an email exchange with a former page that essentially said, let’s see, ‘How old are you and would you send me a picture?’  Now that to me is not a code word for a pedaphillic predator and so I wouldn’t have known that it’s something that should have, I don’t know that he ever saw that language but that was the language that they were reporting about when they went to the speaker and said ‘We have contacted Foley and said "you stop any contact" and the parents of the page said they didn’t want any more involvement so essentially they said ‘Deal with it this way.  Put a lid on it and don’t blow this up out of proportion’ because they didn’t want to have the name of their son in the media and they respected that and I don’t actually see that there was anything illegal or it was a little creepy but, you know, it’s hard to point the finger at the language which was there and make something out of it even in retrospect.  So then the next incident was the instant messages which were vile and that’s justifiable reason for Foley to be gone, to expell him if he didn’t resign himself.  He resigned and so the question becomes then ‘Who knew about those instant messages?’  All Republican leaders have stated on the record they did not have knowledge of them until last Friday when they were released by ABC News.  ABC News says that they had them in August but they didn’t move on them because they were busy.  They also contend that they handed them over to the FBI.  Justice has apparently looked at this and they don’t see a means to file a charge on Foley.  I think maybe they can look at that again, but who sat on them for three years?  Was it CREW, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington which we know is a Democrat hit squad and did they have them for three years?  Did they get them in August and turn them over to ABC News?  I mean, those things will come out and it looks to me like if there were young people in jeopardy that that information needed to be right away made available I would think to the Speaker of the House and none of that happened until Friday after the news media picked it up and I point out that this is, his email contact was to former pages and near as I can determine and I’ve asked the specific question to the speaker’s staff this morning, they were not actively pages when Foley contacted them, that they had left the page program and gone either off to college or back to their home state and so that is a little bit different dynamic.  I don’t make excuses for him but I do think that there’s been a lot of hyperventilating that’s not going to be sustainable." 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. So Hastert calls for an investigation. Latest word from the authorities is that they may not have enough of a case to warrant such an investigation. Yet Hastert is unfairly skewered and told to resign. Meanwhile, the Democrats insist that everyone else follow the old adage “do as we say, not as we do”. Why? The truth is that they have problems of their own that they refuse to admit to, such as Barney Frank living with a known male prostitute. And Gingrich is right: even if they are called to act accordingly, they will shriek “Politics!” and “Gay bashing!”, it does not matter what they are demanding of the Republicans. Both sides of the aisle need to get on the ball, otherwise I see the possibility for a third party opening up real fast.