Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a longtime proponent of the “birther” conspiracy theory aimed at undermining Barack Obama’s presidency, on Wednesday partly blamed the former President for political divisions King claimed led to a shooting at congressional Republicans’ baseball practice that left six people injured.
“I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama,” King said on Iowa radio station WHO, as flagged by CNN’s KFILE. “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, no stranger to divisive remarks himself, suggested in 2012 that Obama’s parents could have made false announcements in U.S. newspapers of Obama’s birth “by telegram from Kenya.”
He gave an infamous interview in 2013 in which he claimed that for every DREAMer who becomes a valedictorian “there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” (John Boehner, then House speaker for King’s own conference, responded: “What an asshole.”)
In 2014, King claimed Obama “was not raised with an American experience.”
During the contentious 2016 election, King challenged fellow MSNBC panelists to name a “subgroup of people” that contributed “more to civilization” than white people.
In 2017, King once again made headlines by tweeting praise for an anti-Muslim politician with the claim: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”