Not A Dog-Whistle But A Bullhorn: Steve King Says ‘Diversity Is Not Our Strength’

Bill Clark/CQPHO

Here’s a new entry in the annals of Steve King.

The Iowa Republican congressman known for his racially insensitive rhetoric tweeted on Friday that “diversity is not our strength.”

And, descending further into the catacombs of nativism, he took it further, quoting a statement from the Hungarian prime minister who was advocating for the dissolution of the obligation of countries to accept immigrants.

“Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life, but to a lower one,” King wrote.

While Friday’s comments may be one of the most forward indications that he has a penchant for ethno-nationalism, King has a long history of making controversial comments, as TPM has documented over the years.

In 2006, while advocating for electric fences along the U.S.-Mexico border, he equated undocumented immigrants to livestock: “We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.”

In 2008, he claimed that former President Barack Obama’s middle name, Hussein, is proof that he is linked to radical Islamic terrorists:

I will tell you that, if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this war on terror.”

Also, unsurprisingly, King’s a birther:

“(I) found a microfiche there of two newspapers in Hawaii each of which had published the birth of Barack Obama… That doesn’t mean there aren’t some other explanations on how they might’ve announced that by telegram from Kenya,” he said in 2012.

In 2013, he said that while some undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents could be “valedictorians,” most are drug dealers:

Some of them are valedictorians — and their parents brought them in. It wasn’t their fault. 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’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

In September 2016, he called the Congressional Black Caucus, the “self-segregating caucus” and in August this year he defended embattled former sherif Joe Arpaio, who the President pardoned for racially profiling Latinos in his county:

I don’t agree that profiling is wrong. … In fact, if you would take profiling away from the tools of law enforcement, you couldn’t describe a criminal in any way whatsoever.”

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