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Rep. Steve King, The Unlikeliest Amnesty 'Supporter'

Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Steve King at the Capitol after a vote in August.
Alex Wong
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Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Steve King at the Capitol after a vote in August.

A new term may have been coined today on Capitol Hill: "gaggle bombing."

Ahead of President Obama's executive action on immigration, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was a hot interview Wednesday afternoon. He has been known to say inflammatory things on the topic of immigration. And there was this awkward interaction with young immigration activists earlier this year at an event in his district.

Reporters gathered around King, just off the House floor, to get his thoughts on the president's expected action (he thinks it is likely unconstitutional and that the House should pass a resolution condemning it before possibly trying to pull funding from any programs Obama would create). This clump of reporters is called a scrum or a gaggle.

So what happened next can only be described as a "gaggle bombing." Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., walked up while a reporter was asking a question, put her arms around King and said: "Don't believe a thing he says. He's totally for amnesty. In fact, he called up the president and said 'Barack, please, please, would you do the executive amnesty? I've been beggin' ya.' "

Laughing, King kept the joke going: "And I would let anybody come into this country that wanted to come in, provided we could deport a liberal for each one," said King, tongue fully in cheek.

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Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.