South Carolina State Rep. John King (D) said he got “sick to his stomach” when he saw the story of a Muslim woman kicked out of a Donald Trump for President campaign rally in Rock Hill, S.C.
King told WSOC-TV that scene, broadcast on national TV, was the motivation for a resolution he introduced to ban Trump from South Carolina.
“When you cross Rock Hill city limits, you’ll pass a sign stating ‘No Room for Racism’,” King said. “I’ve heard Donald Trump insult immigrants, African-Americans, women, war heroes.”
“I just reached a point,” he explained, “where enough was enough.”
Of course, this is only a resolution. King knows there is no way he can keep the billionaire out of South Carolina. Even if the resolution passes the Legislature with unanimous support, Trump could still cross the state line whenever and wherever he wants to campaign before the Feb. 20 GOP presidential primary in South Carolina.
But King believes his resolution, especially if it picks up bipartisan support, will make his point, and this might be just what mainline Republicans need to stop Trump’s march to Washington.
“My resolution will give a sense of the House of Representatives on who supports Donald Trump and his bigotry and who stands with us those of us who thinks that his rhetoric is sickening,” said King.
From the beginning, King, a Democrat, expected to pick up bipartisan support for the resolution. So he didn’t flinch from quoting longtime GOP South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in the opening text of his resolution: “Donald Trump is a race-baiting, xenophobic bigot and is not welcome in the state of South Carolina.”
King sees his mission as fueled by the same fire that led South Carolina to take down the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House last summer.
“It’s time to once again come together and tell yet another symbol of hatred and bigotry, Mr. Donald J. Trump, that he is no longer welcome in the great state of South Carolina,” King said in a statement.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) hasn’t said what she thinks of King’s resolution. But when Trump proclaimed he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., Haley called the proposal “un-American” and “unconstitutional.”
“It defies everything that this country was based on and it’s just wrong,” Haley said in a video posted on Twitter.
Haley also criticized Trump’s stance on immigration during an NBC “Meet the Press” interview in July 2015.
The South Carolina Republican Party did not respond to PJM’s request for comment. But Haley is not the only establishment Republican in South Carolina to criticize Trump for his views.
Former Sen. Jim DeMint, now the president of the Heritage Foundation, told CNN in December that banning Muslims from America was not a good idea.
“Americans don’t ban an entire religion because the lack of leadership of one president,” DeMint said. “It’s not right and that is not who we are as Americans.”
The South Carolina for Donald Trump campaign organization failed to respond to PJM’s request for comment on King’s resolution. But it is evident from the group’s Facebook page they are not bothered by Rep. King’s effort to keep their man out of the state. Nor do they seem concerned by what mainline Republicans like Gov. Haley are saying about Trump.
Why should South Carolina for Donald Trump worry? Their biggest concern now has to be making sure that everyone who says they support Trump actually votes for him on Feb. 20.
Trump led the GOP presidential primary field in an Augusta Chronicle survey by 7 points in mid-December and a CBS News/YouGov survey the same week by 15 points.
Still, there are the establishment Republicans who seem ready to do anything — perhaps even sign on to a Democrat’s resolution — to stop Donald Trump. Jim DeMint and Gov. Haley are not the only card-carrying Republicans in South Carolina who have a problem with Donald Trump.
Those who would be president, but have only been able to muster so much support in the polls, see South Carolina as a last-chance firewall to block Trump’s GOP presidential nomination.
The Right to Rise PAC, which supports Jeb Bush, has purchased $4 million in TV ad buys in South Carolina. The pro-Marco Rubio Conservative Solutions PAC has also placed a multi-million dollar ad buy in South Carolina.
Conservative pollster Matt Towery told Newsmax whoever wins South Carolina is going to be seen as the favorite to win the so-called SEC primaries that will be held in 14 states March 1.
“Those who want to stop Trump have to make South Carolina their ultimate point of demarcation,” Towery said. “For Trump, South Carolina needs to be a Maginot line that he crosses easily, then slips into the SEC primaries and does well.”