Likely presidential candidate Scott Walker meets one-on-one for a Capitol Hill breakfast with GOP kingmaker Sen. Mike Lee, who says he “went in a little doubtful” but “came away impressed” with the Wisconsin governor.
Lee, a prominent conservative whose support will likely be in high demand among Republican candidates for president, hoped to gauge where Walker stands on some issues that have caused him to stumble in recent months, including immigration reform and ethanol subsidies.
On the former, “Walker really downplayed his past views on it and said it was an issue he hadn’t really thought about, especially when he was Milwaukee county executive,” Lee’s aide said.
Walker has drawn some scrutiny for his stance on immigration reform, which has appeared to shift more to the right as he has geared up to seek the GOP nomination in 2016. As county executive, Walker signed a resolution pushing for immigration reform in Congress, which would have included a pathway to citizenship. In 2013, Walker told a Wisconsin newspaper that a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants “makes sense.” But he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace in March, “My view has changed.”
Walker assured Lee on Tuesday that “he does not support a Gang of Eight-type path to citizenship,” the aide said, referring to a failed Senate immigration reform proposal.
Walker also sought to assuage conservatives’ fears that he supports the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates biofuels in gasoline, telling Lee that “he didn’t want to end it immediately, but that he wanted to phase it out.” In Iowa in March, Walker told an audience of farmers, who overwhelmingly support the RFS, that he was “willing to go forward on continuing the Renewable Fuel Standard.” But Walker later walked-back that remark.