Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) refused to take part in bi-partisan calls for unity led by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and even President Trump on Wednesday, instead choosing to blame former President Barack Obama for the attack on Republican lawmakers at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday.
“I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama,” the congressman said in an interview with Simon Conway on WHO Iowa radio. “He contributed mightily to dividing us. He focused on our differences rather than our things that unify us. And this is some of the fruits of that labor.”
King stopped by the crime scene hours after the shooting to pray and told The Washington Post: “America has been divided. And the center of America is disappearing, and the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left.”
King took to Twitter to repeat his message of division.
The center of America is disappearing, and the violence is incited by the leading cultural voices of the Left. https://t.co/A4s2HjpQxG
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) June 14, 2017
After the shooting, Obama called Sen. Jeff Flake (R- Ariz.) to send “best wishes and prayers to those injured,” Flake told the Los Angeles Times.
King’s hateful rhetoric, especially toward people who are not white, Christian or U.S.-born, have contributed to the growing divide in America.
At the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, King told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that white people have contributed to civilization more than any other “subgroup.”
King: This whole white people business, though, does get a little tired, Charlie. 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 are talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?
MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes: Than white people?
King: Than Western civilization itself that’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and everyplace where the footprint of Christianity settled the world.
In March, he suggested that Muslim children were preventing “our civilization” from being restored.
In April, when a King staffer failed to show up for a meeting with a Latina constituent who called him out for the runaround, he responded with a tweet that said, “Do you always lie in English?”
In 2012, King compared immigrants to dogs:
And you put out a beacon like the Statue of Liberty and who comes here? The most vigorous from every country that has donated legal immigrants to the United States of America. The cream of the crop. We’ve always had bird dogs around our place. And, right now, in our family there’s a black lab and white lab a yellow lab, and my brother has a chocolate lab. And, you go in and you look at a litter of pups, and you watch them. You watch how they play — they run around a little bit — and what do you want? You want a good bird dog, and you want one that’s gonna be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest, the one that’s in games the most and not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner. If you want a pet to sit on the couch, pick the one that’s sleeping in the corner. That’s — so, you get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. We got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet because it’s hard to get here, you had to be inspired to come. We got the vigor from the planet to come to America. Whichever generation it was, and then we taught our children that same thing.
Here’s how King spoke about “dreamers” during an interview four years ago with far-right news outlet Newsmax:
There are kids that were brought into this country by their parents unknowing they were breaking the law. And they will say to me and others who defend the rule of law, ‘We have to do something about the 11 million. Some of them are valedictorians.’ Well, my answer to that is…it’s true in some cases, but they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents. 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. Those people would be legalized with the same act.