Radio Host Who Called for Enslaving Immigrants Has Hosted GOP Presidential Candidates More Than 40 Times

Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who recently pushed an immigration plan that would force undocumented immigrants to become enslaved workers if they refuse to leave, has hosted Republican presidential candidates 43 times in 2015. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) leads all candidates with 11 appearances; former Gov. Mike Huckabee has appeared 8 times.


On his August 17 show, Mickelson proposed an immigration plan that included posting signs around Iowa warning undocumented immigrants that they could either leave or "become property of the state." When confronted by a caller who said the plan sounded like slavery, Mickelson responded, "what's wrong with slavery?"

Asked by Media Matters to explain his comments, Mickelson argued his plan was "constitutionally defensible, legally defensible, morally defensible, biblically defensible and historically defensible." He claimed Republican presidential candidates "would understand [his position] from a historical and intellectual point of view," adding, "most of them would understand my point isn't serious, the point is philosophical" -- though he told a caller on the 17th, "you think I'm just pulling your leg. I am not."

According to a Media Matters analysis of Mickelson's show, in 2015 alone he has hosted most of the Republican presidential field. Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Rick Perry, Jim Gilmore, Chris Christie, George Pataki, and John Kasich have not appeared on his program this year.

According to a tweet by Mickelson, he said he hosted Trump "a few months ago," but it appears that was in October 2014 and outside the scope of this analysis. One of Carson's appearances was during an episode featuring a guest host.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appeared on the program on August 21 amid widespread outrage over Mickelson's immigration proposal, but the controversial plan was not discussed.

Mickelson told Media Matters earlier this week about how candidates end up on his show: "They'll come, they'll pursue it and say 'can we come on,' and 'sure,' I don't chase them around looking for them to come on, they usually call and ask me."

Although these recent inflammatory comments have garnered significant attention -- due in part to Mickelson's kingmaker status in the state -- Mickelson has a long history of making offensive comments about immigrants. Earlier this year, Mickelson said he assumed anyone with a Hispanic last name who gets in trouble with police is "not here legally" and called educating undocumented children at public schools "a scam." Mickelson has also suggested bringing back Jim Crow-era voting laws such as something similar to a literacy test.

Mickelson has promoted his anti-immigration theories during interviews with candidates, including pushing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to embrace the argument that undocumented children shouldn't be allowed to attend public schools and asking Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) if they believed a debunked Dick Morris conspiracy theory about the Trans Pacific Partnership including a provision for unrestricted immigration to the United States.

Methodology:

Media Matters listened to every edition of Mickelson In The Morning from Jan 1, 2015, through August 21, 2015,and counted every time all declared and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate were hosted.

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