GOP Rep. Steve King’s ‘Racist’ Immigration Talk Sparks Calls For Congressional Censure
The Iowa Republican’s most recent remarks have led several lawmakers to call for a formal censure by Congress of King.
Speaking at a rally in Webster City, Iowa just one day before the midterm elections, King was talking about jalapeño peppers when he described migrants as “dirt.”
“I guess I’m going to have to go and get some dirt from Mexico to grow the next batch,” King said, according to The Weekly Standard.
One of his supporters then reportedly interjected: “Trust me, it’s already on its way.”
King then continued with his rhetoric: “Well, yeah, there’s plenty of dirt, it’s coming from the West Coast, too, and a lot of other places, besides. This is the most dirt we’ve ever seen.”
Since this incident, more than 140 organizations have signed a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to censure the Iowa congressman’s “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, racist and homophobic” language before the current Congress session ends.
Given that Democrats won the majority in the House of Representatives in the midterms, they could have a strong chance of proceeding with a censure of King, who in recent weeks has been condemned by even GOP officials for comments many have perceived as being friendly to white supremacists. King even recently dismissed a constituent who asked him about his white nationalist-like statements.
“The things that he says are so deeply unfair, disturbing and unbefitting of a member of Congress. And I do think that censure is appropriate,” Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal said of King. Indian-born Jayapal, who is a former immigration attorney, is one of 12 current lawmakers who are naturalized U.S. citizens.
King also famously made bigoted remarks in 2013 about Dreamers, immigrants who come to the U.S. as children.
“For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that they weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, another Indian-born congressman, also said he favored censuring King but didn’t want the Iowa Republican to become an emblem for the country.
“He should be censured, but he doesn’t represent America,” said 42-year-old Khanna of King. “Censure him, but don’t make that the topic of conversation. I mean, who cares? He’s some random member of Congress who represents 5 percent of the views of the American people. That’s not America.”
The last time a sitting U.S. congressman was censured was in 2010, when then New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel was convicted of 11 ethics violations.
All of this comes as President Donald Trump is threatening to shut down the federal government in the coming weeks if Congress fails to approve $5 billion in funding for increased border security, including the border wall, by Dec. 7. Democrats have said they refuse to provide funding for the wall, even if it means the government will close as a result.
King won his re-election bid this year.