Thursday, March 16, 2017

Southern AZ Pols React to Rep. Steve King's Celebration of Whiteness

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 12:53 PM

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) made the headlines this week with a tweet that celebrated the philosophy of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whose Party for Freedom got knocked down by voters in yesterday's election in the Netherlands. In subsequent interviews, King has stood by his tweet.

King has been criticized by members of his own party as well as the Trump White House.

WaPo's Amber Phillips has a round-up of King's previous expressions of white supremacy here.

So far, U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ02) is not joining those critical of King. Her office did not respond this week to two requests for comment on King's tweet and comments.

But Southern Arizona's two Democratic congressmen condemned it.

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ03) responded with this statement before GOP politicians began speaking out against King's comments:

click to enlarge Congressman Raul Grijalva
  • Congressman Raul Grijalva
Steve King’s tweet, and his subsequent defense of the bigotry it promoted, are wakeup calls for all Americans about the Republican Party’s true motivations in pursuing immigration reform. King was an early supporter of Donald Trump; he is a trusted advisor of the president on immigration reform; to characterize these views as anything other than mainstream in today’s Republican leadership would be false. The deafening silence from each and every one of King’s GOP colleagues only further conveys their silent approval of the hate he’s spewing.

The sad truth is that, among this crowd, immigration reform has very little to do with enforcement. For King and his ilk, this is about race and ethnicity. The GOP has exploited themes of bigotry and racism in their campaigns for years, and the fear they stirred up among their base played right into Trump’s hand last November. With each new policy proposal, and each glimpse into the GOP’s thought process, we see a concerted effort to create a European nation-state inside the United States. Deportations, restrictions on visa opportunities, and the broad targeting of immigrants, ethnic minorities and religious groups in this country, all serve the white nationalist cause that Rep. King and his allies have whole-heartedly embraced.

There was a time when virulent racism was considered appalling fringe behavior by both parties – now it’s clearly become the driving narrative for Republican leadership under Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.

Congressman Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ01) issued this statement:

We are a nation rich in culture and diversity, and we are stronger for it. To say we would better off as a homogenous society insults the generations of immigrants who have fought to defend our country, make it a better place, and all who call it home. This kind of hatred and animosity toward peaceful people who believe, look, think, or act differently has no place in America. These statements now, as there are increased threats and attacks on people who are or look Jewish, Muslim, and others.

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