Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who’s previously made clear that he doesn’t believe immigrants from the Middle East want to assimilate into American culture, wants Muslims who come to the U.S. to reject Sharia law. King made the comments when TPM asked him on Wednesday whether he supported Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
King said he wasn’t confident any immigrants from the Middle East would do so, citing what he said was the failure of the only two Muslim members of Congress to renounce Sharia.
“Sharia law is incompatible with the United States Constitution and so if they want to demonstrate that they are open to being Americanized, the first thing they should do is renounce Sharia law,” King told TPM. “You won’t get Keith Ellison or Andre Carson in this Congress to renounce Sharia law, let alone somebody that’s just come out of the Middle East that is someone who has been steeped in Islam for a lifetime.”
As that interview ended, TPM also had a chance to talk with Ellison, who was walking by and shook hands with King. When asked to respond to King’s comment, Ellison said it was “an incredibly ignorant statement.”
“And when I say ignorant I don’t mean it as an insult, I mean it as it is incredibly uninformed,” Ellison said. “That is all I can really say.”
King did not fully embrace Trump’s widely-condemned plan, telling TPM: “I wouldn’t be willing to adopt that specific policy, but I am willing to debate the merits of it, and I think we should.”
“What we should do is we should be profiling people who are getting on airplanes and we should be profiling people that are coming into America and those coming into America should meet a profile where they are the most likely to be able to contribute to our society and our economy and assimilate into the American civilization, and I have said publicly that Muslims do not do that in significant numbers,” he added.
He also credited the read estate mogul with starting a debate about Muslims in America, arguing that political correctness in the country was “debilitating and almost suicidal.”
“I am not announcing that I agree with him, but I do say that I thank him for opening up the topic and opening up it nice and wide so we can have a real debate about this,” King said.