Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has released a statement explaining why he opposed a House measure to erect a plaque in the Capitol Visitors Center, recognizing the history of slave labor in the construction of the Capitol. King was the only one to vote "No,"
and it passed by a 399-1 margin.
King says that he "opposed yet another bill to erect another monument to slavery," because Democrats had used it as a bargaining chip with Republicans who wanted to secure the depiction of the words "In God We Trust" in the Visitors Center -- that America's Judeo-Christian heritage was being held hostage:
"In the Capitol Visitor's Center, we agreed to change the name of the Great Hall - which honored the immigrants that came legally to America - to Emancipation Hall to honor the 645,000 slaves and their descendants who were brought to the United States more than two centuries ago.
"Last night I opposed yet another bill to erect another monument to slavery because it was used as a bargaining chip to allow for the actual depiction of 'In God We Trust' in the CVC. The Architect of the Capitol and liberal activists opposed every reference to America's Christian heritage, even to the extent of scrubbing 'In God We Trust' from the depiction of the actual Speaker's chair in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"This is just the latest example of a several year effort by liberals in Congress to scrub references to America's Christian heritage from our nation's Capitol. Liberals want to amend our country's history to eradicate the role of Christianity in America and chisel references to God or faith from our historical buildings.
"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. Christian abolitionists gave their lives by the hundreds of thousands to end slavery. Great American leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. worshipped God just as our Founding Fathers did. We must never forget this important aspect of our heritage or use it as a political bargaining chip."
Late Update: DCCC national press secretary Ryan Rudominer gives us this statement: "Steve King's lone vote against acknowledging the role slaves played in the construction of the United States Capitol is a slap in the face to the very sacrifices and contributions African Americans made to our nation. This is the latest in a long line of erratic behavior from King that has made him an embarrassment to Iowans and to the Republican Party."