Contentious statements by Rep. Steve King over the years
House GOP leadership took moves to block Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King from committee assignments for the next two years after he lamented that white supremacy and white nationalism have become offensive terms.
Here is a look at some of King’s contentious comments and stances since becoming a member of Congress in 2003:
— In 2006, King called for an electrified fence on the US border, saying, “We do that with livestock all the time.”
— During the 2006 Iowa Republican convention, King referenced the recent death of a terrorist leader, saying the terrorist had likely figured out “there probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he’s at and, if there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas.” King later apologized to the then-85-year-old Hearst newspaper political columnist.
— In late 2006, King objected to then-Iowa Secretary of State and Gov.-elect Chet Culver’s posting of voter registration forms in Spanish, Laotian, Vietnamese and Bosnian online. King said in a letter to Culver that, “Our official elections take place in English so that there is no confusion and less corruption.” King later joined other anti-immigration hardliners in suing Culver, alleging his actions violated the state’s official English-language law, which was authored by King.
— In March 2008, King made remarks about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s middle name of Hussein, saying that if Obama were elected, “radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11.”
— In July 2009, King defended his stance as the only member of Congress to vote against a House resolution that acknowledged the use of African-American slaves in the construction of the U.S. Capitol with a plaque in the Capitol Visitor Center. King said he opposed the bill because it was put up for a vote before a depiction of “In God We Trust” could be considered in the visitor center, saying, “Our Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation and should not be held hostage to yet another effort to place guilt on future Americans for the sins of some of their ancestors.”
— In a House floor speech on June 2010, King defended racial profiling as an important component of law enforcement, saying, “Profiling has always been an important component of legitimate law enforcement. If you can’t profile someone, you can’t use those common sense indicators that are before your very eyes.”
— Also in June 2010, King argued that President Barack Obama favored blacks over whites, saying Obama “has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race on the side that favors the black person.”
— In July 2013, King touted a hard line opposing immigrants in the U.S. illegally, saying, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
— A Confederate flag was displayed on King’s desk in his congressional office in 2016. He removed it after a man arrested in the fatal shooting of two Iowa police officers was seen in a video using a Confederate flag to taunt black students at a high school football game.
— In July 2016, when questioned about a lack of racial diversity at the Republican National Convention, King suggested white people had made more contributions to civilization than other groups, saying, “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
— In 2017, King publicly supported several far-right, anti-immigration candidates in Europe, saying in one supporting statement that “culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
— In November 2018, just before his re-election to a ninth term in Congress, The Weekly Standard released audio of King seeming to refer to Mexican immigrants as “dirt” during a campaign rally. King was before a crowd complaining that jalapeno peppers he had grown that year weren’t hot enough and that he might have to get dirt from Mexico to grow the next batch. When a woman replied that dirt is “on its way,” an apparent reference to a caravan of Central American migrants traveling to the California border, King replied, “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.”
— On Jan. 10, 2019, the New York Times quoted King as saying, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”