Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker joined several other candidates in attending the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa on Saturday for a rigorous Q&A session on his views. First, Walker was asked about his commitment to defending marriage, a discussion which branched into the need to protect religious freedom:
I believe that we should support a constitutional amendment to allow states to define marriage as being whatever they see fit. In my state and many other states, what we did was one man and one woman, and I think we should put that in place and I support that.
Another thing that I think is important is that we should have a President who is willing to fight to support religious freedoms in this country. That’s something inherent already in the United States’ Constitution, and it’s something I fought for in my state and something the next President should fight for. It’s not freedom from religion, it’s freedom of religion, and that means we should have the right to practice our religious beliefs in this country.
Question: So if Mike Pence were to come to Wisconsin with his legislation, would you support the Indiana legislation in Wisconsin?
Walker: In our case, it’s even better in Wisconsin. We have it in the state’s constitution. We have language that has codified, I think more specifically than what they talked about there, and has been some time in the state’s constitution. We’ve lived just fine with that legislation, and I’ve been supportive of our constitution, just like others have been before me.
From there, Walker was asked about his shifting position on immigration and whether his change had been misconstrued. Walker explained what brought about his shift on the issue:
No, for years as a governor, I don’t deal with immigration. That’s not an issue that’s been a heavy concern as a state leader, but I said earlier this year, in fact right after I was at CPAC earlier this year, I sat down with Fox News Sunday, with Chris Wallace, and said yeah, this is an issue where I’ve changed somewhat. I’ve went to the border with the Governor of Texas. I flew up in the air, I went on the ground, I talked to people on the border there and in other states, I listened to Americans across this country.
Most importantly, I looked at how messed up this President has done with that issue nationally. Last fall, I was one of the first governors to join the lawsuit against the federal government for overstepping his administrative bounds, and I believe the immigration issue’s simple: secure the borders, uphold the law, I don’t believe we need illegal immigration going forward. I believe we need a legal immigration system in this country that gives priority to the impact of American working families and their wages in a way that will improve the American economy.
Walker also had a strong answer for questions about his commitment to life. Asked why it took him nearly four days to respond to an undercover video showing Planned Parenthood’s controversial organ sales program, he responded:
Simple, actions speak louder than words. A lot of candidates come up here on stages like this and say they’re gonna fight for things. I’ve actually won on those. I’ve defunded Planned Parenthood in a blue state, four and a half years ago in my very first budget when none of these videos came out.
I didn’t have the cover of a video to make the case why Planned Parenthood needed to be defunded. I knew that the right thing was to take it away from an organization that promoted the culture of death, and put it out to support women’s health at appropriate places like public health departments at the county and local level in my state.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.