Rep. Ken Buck condemns ‘lewd, offensive’ comments, reiterates support for Donald Trump | MyWindsorNow.com

Rep. Ken Buck condemns ‘lewd, offensive’ comments, reiterates support for Donald Trump

Tyler Silvy
tsilvy@greeleytribune.com

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., on Tuesday said he still supports Donald Trump despite the recent release of a video featuring what Buck called lewd and offensive comments from the Republican presidential nominee.

Buck said those who don't support Trump automatically support his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Buck visited Bella Romero Academy of Applied Technology's K-3 campus for a National School Lunch week celebration at the school. He sat with kindergarteners and talked with Greeley-Evans School District 6 officials about federal imposition on local schools.

The visit came four days after The Washington Post first published a video in which Trump discussed his ability to kiss and grope women without permission because he's "a star."

"I just start kissing them," Trump said in the 2005 Access Hollywood tape. "It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything … grab them by the p—-."

After the tape was released, Colorado Republicans, including Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman, were quick to distance themselves from Trump, pulling their pledged support for the nominee by Saturday.

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Buck, who is running for re-election in what's widely believed to be the safe, conservative Colorado 4th Congressional District, clarified his position a day after The Denver Post reported he was still solidly in Trump's camp despite other defections.

"I think (Trump's) comments were lewd, were offensive, were something that should be condemned," Buck said in an interview Tuesday after the event, before shifting to Clinton.

"She has conducted herself in a way that is even more offensive than his language," Buck said after the event. "She has broken the law. She has lied to the American public regarding the Benghazi, she has had an email server that several people — five or six people — had to take the Fifth Amendment to cooperate with the FBI, and yet charges weren't brought against her."

Buck said Clinton has put Americans at risk and she would continue to do so as president.

Despite Trump not being his first choice in the primary (he supported Ted Cruz), Buck said Trump is a better option than Clinton.

Buck said there are still things Trump could do to lose his support, but that hasn't happened yet. For those who have pulled support for Trump, Buck warned against potential, Clinton-caused catastrophe in the economic and geopolitical realm.

"People that are walking away from Donald Trump, no matter who they are, need to take that into account," Buck said.

Buck further said the election is a binary choice.

"I don't just get to say, 'I'm walking away from Donald Trump,' " Buck said. "If I say that, I'm saying I support Hillary Clinton."

Asked if he characterizes Gardner or Coffman's decisions to abandon support of Trump as de-facto support for Clinton, Buck said, "You'll have to ask them."

Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano pointed to Gardner's statement, released Saturday, in which Gardner said he is committed to defeating Hillary Clinton. The only way to do that, the statement went continued, "…is with a new nominee that reflects the values of our country and our party."

Gardner called on Trump to step down, and for Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, to become the Republican Party nominee.

Buck said he will campaign for Trump going forward, if asked, though he didn't appear at a Trump headquarters opening attended by Trump's third-eldest son, Eric Trump, on Tuesday morning in Greeley.

More than 90 percent of students at Bella Romero qualify for free or reduced-price lunches and 80 percent of students there are Hispanic or Latino, with census estimates putting the undocumented population as high as a quarter of the overall Latino or Hispanic population.

Buck stopped short of supporting, or not supporting, full deportation of immigrants without proper documentation, something Trump has supported.

Instead, Buck echoed more recent Trump arguments, namely that a secure border comes first.

"I don't want to put the cart before the horse and say I'm in favor of deporting or I'm opposed to deporting," Buck said.

District 6 also features a large population of refugee students, with 200 coming from the Middle East and Africa, including many Muslim students. There were at least five kindergarten girls wearing hijabs on the playground while Buck spoke.

When asked about a ban on Muslim immigration, Buck again echoed more recent Trump positions while acknowledging the changing positions of the Republican nominee.

"Donald Trump has said a number of things about Muslim immigration," Buck said. "What he said at the debate (Sunday) is we need strict vetting, and I agree with that."

Still, Buck sought to distance himself from earlier iterations of Trump's position, citing the Muslim population in Greeley.

"I'm very proud of the fact that Greeley has welcomed Muslims into our community, and I do not believe, in any way, shape or form that we should discriminate against anybody from coming into this country based on their religion," Buck said.

Buck on education

School funding — “I think it’s an issue that local taxpayers have to decide. The federal government obviously has entered into educational funding. I think we should give enough local control over those decisions as possible. I’d like to see more block grants and not incentivizing Common Core…”

State-mandated tests — “I think if the state wants to mandate testing and develop curriculum accordingly, I think that’s up to the state and local communities. I think it’s a mistake to look at the United States and come up with a one-size-fits-all nutrition plan or curriculum.”

School safety — “Again, I think it’s something that has to be developed at the local level. There’s going to be one need in one part of Greeley, and another need in a different part of Greeley.”