Todd Akin feels a kinship with Donald Trump.
The former Missouri congressman from St. Louis became a household name in 2012 when he said victims of “legitimate rape” could avoid pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” The remark doomed his attempt to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who had been trailing him in the polls. She ended up beating him handily.
Akin said in an interview with the online newsletter Morning Consult on Thursday that Trump’s populist campaign for the presidency was “a breath of fresh air.”
When he says things and gets everybody excited, there are people like me who are clapping.
Todd Akin, former Missouri congressman
Akin likened the abandonment of Trump by some Republicans to his own experience in 2012, when his “legitimate rape” comment prompted prominent members of the party to withdraw their support for his candidacy and pressure him to pull out of the race.
“It’s because you’ve got an incredibly one-sided Democratic national media, and Republicans are scared to death of them,” Akin said. “Look at my race. I got hammered, really, because I’m pro-life. That’s the bottom line of it.”
McCaskill, who previously has suggested Akin would make an excellent running mate for Trump, said in response to an email from McClatchy that it figured Akin would think Trump was great.
“They remind me of each other, except Todd Akin actually had things he believed in besides himself,” McCaskill said.
In his interview with Morning Consult’s Eli Yokley, Akin dismissed the controversy surrounding Trump’s treatment of the parents of a slain Muslim soldier who appeared at the Democratic National Convention to endorse Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Khizr and Ghazala Khan “took advantage of people’s sympathy because their child died,” Akin said.
Khizr Khan “carried it too far when he held up the U.S. Constitution” and accused Trump of not being familiar with it, Akin said.
“The question should have been the other way, to Muslims: Have you read the Constitution?” he said.
Akin said Trump could be the “only guy who can beat Hillary Clinton because he’s pulling from such a different base” from traditional Republican voters.
“When he says things and gets everybody excited, there are people like me who are clapping,” he said. “It is still a free speech country.”