Although the Democrats clinched the U.S. House, some ultra-conservative Republican Congressmen still held on to their seats. Rep. Steve King from Iowa (R) managed to keep his seat in a narrowly run race against Democrat J.D. Scholten. Scholten came within single digits of unseating him.
On Saturday, it was reported by a conservative magazine that King had used derogatory language against immigrants. The Weekly Standard posted audio of King joking with a constituent, telling him that if he wants to grow spicy jalapenos, he will have to import dirt from Mexico. An attendee interjects saying the dirt from Mexico is already “on the way.”
King laughs at the comment and agrees, saying” there’s plenty of dirt” coming from Mexico. He says:
‘This is the most dirt we’ve ever seen.’
King issued tweets on Friday and Saturday slamming the journal.
According to The Weekly Standard:
‘So, King claimed our reporter lied. He didn’t. He claimed we didn’t have a recording. We do. He insisted we refused to release the audio. Untrue. It’s worth remembering these things as you evaluate the credibility of the claim from King—a man with a history of bigoted comments and a recent obsession with the “caravan” of immigrants traveling through Mexico to the United States—that he wasn’t talking about immigrants when he joked about “dirt” on its way to the U.S. from Mexico.’
According to Adam Rubenstein, the journalist who wrote the story, King became nervous and changed the subject when he realized that a journalist might have heard the bigoted exchange. Rubenstein did not include that detail in his original report, but said immediately after King made the comment that “this is the most dirt that we’ve ever seen,” he turned to Rubenstein and said:
‘This is actually not supposed to start for another six minutes, is it? But, so we’re just kind of chatting here informally here until things get rolling.’
All of this can be heard in the audio recording below.
The Guardian wrote:
‘Nobody in Iowa is undecided, it seems, about whether Steve King, the eight-term Republican congressman, is a racist. The contention is either obviously true – or totally preposterous, depending on whom you ask.’
Peg Raney, a 62 year-old registered Democrat from Jefferson said:
‘His comments are so negative and small, and just not very knowledgeable, and condescending. He comes across as very racist.’
People will say that they like King because “you understand what he says, and you know what he means.” Many people sided with him on opposing abortion and promoting corn-based ethanol fuel.
At a recent rally in Council Bluffs, Mr. Trump said of King:
‘He may be the world’s most conservative human being.’
One 76 year-old lifelong Republican, Raymond Beebe, spoke about how he is “tired of the embarrassment.” Beebe said:
‘The comments, I mean they’re all over the place – “all uneducated immigrants smuggle drugs,” “black people could afford abortions if they stopped buying iPhones,” “no group has done better for the country than the white people”– he’s so openly racist, and I find that very abhorrent.’
At least King will be surrounded by wise, progressive, and educated minds when he goes back to Washington. A record number of women will be entering Congress and the Pew Research Center reports that the 115th Congress will be the most diverse in history.
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube