Expressing views that are sure to be controversial to Standing Rock Sioux citizens and their supporters around the nation, U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said in a January 24 interview with MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson that now is the perfect time for President Donald Trump to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) because it’s cold in the Dakotas, and he suspects the protesting resistance is weaker at this time. The full transcript follows:
NBC News [is] confirming that President Trump is moving forward on these actions with the Dakota Access Pipeline, with the Keystone XL Pipeline. I know you support Keystone—I know you support the construction—
What does the president need to do, though, about, for example, the small group of protesters still out by the Dakota Access Pipeline? Does he need to have them forcibly removed, in your view? How would you handle it?
Well, first thing is: This is the perfect month to do this. It’s cold up there in the Dakotas in the wintertime.
But it’s been cold, and they’ve been there.
That’s true. But the numbers would be greater if this were June than January. And as I look at this, I don’t find a legitimate reason for the protesters to be there. I mean they’re arguing that there might be Native American artifacts under the lake (Oahe), and the only way you get into the lake is to bore down through there to put the pipeline underneath the lake. So I think that they’ve taken a stand on something that is not a principled stand at all. Plus, it’s not on the reservation. So, I think the president just needs to send the message [that] we can’t hold up progress in America unless there are legitimate, lawful reasons to do so. And, if they need to provide order—if I’m there, the contract company, I’d provide my own security, but I’d move forward with that project.
On any potential questions about conflicts, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren [builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline] has donated to President Trump [and] also has ties to, for example, Energy Secretary pick Rick Perry. A spokesperson for, at the time, the president-elect told NBC that does not play into his decision making on this. Do you buy that?
Well, pretty much I do.
I haven’t looked into that far enough to—I don’t want to give a definitive statement, and I don’t think I know that issue well enough to take a stand. But I’m not suspicious about the statement. I would take it at its face value, unless I had information otherwise.
Then I would say on the Keystone XL Pipeline, all that needed was for the secretary of state to sign the document that enables them to put in one section right at the forty-ninth parallel…. And so, I’m hopeful that [Trump’s new executive order] is something that directs the secretary of state to sign that document so we can cross the border with Canada. And that was a simplistic component of that. And we needed John Kerry to do that under Barack Obama’s order, so I’m hopeful that’s the substance of that executive order. And then let that pipeline be built. We’ve got billions of dollars in capital investment that’s being held up for reasons that I think are not legitimate and not valid. And if this country’s going to move forward, we can’t let this be holding us up.