Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a leading crusader against immigration reform, stood by his notorious comments last year likening so-called DREAMers to drug mules.
"So I'm not going to apologize. What I've said is objectively true. And any time that Republicans have criticized me, it's not because of what I said, it's because they disagree with my agenda," King told the local Spencer Daily Reporter in an interview reported Friday by the liberal Right Wing Watch and picked up by Roll Call. "That's really the answer."
"When they start calling names, they've lost the debate," he said.
Last July, King said that for every DREAMer (the term commonly used for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children) "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."
The remarks led to a public rebuke from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who called them "deeply offensive and wrong," and later privately told Rep. Joaquín Castro that King was an "asshole" for making those comments, according to the Democratic congressman.
King was part of a chorus of conservatives who pushed Boehner to backtrack on immigration reform after he floated a path forward earlier this year.