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In Effort to Reposition GOP, Boehner & Cantor Speak Out Against Rep. Steve King’s Racist Comments, Still Many More to Address

Guest Blogger • Jul 25, 2013

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Earlier this year, members of the Republican party announced intentions to rebrand their image. Losing yet another presidential election forced them to reevaluate their platform and strategies for success – or failure, as it were.

And in one of the first overt moves to actually rebrand their image, party leaders Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) condemned the outrageously racist comments made by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) towards the children of immigrants. King, having long since expressed his disdain for the rebranding effort, unsurprisingly doubled down on his assertion that most DREAM-eligible kids are drug mules.

In response to King’s remark that more DREAMers are running drugs than succeeding in school, Boehner said, “There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language […] Everyone needs to remember that.” Cantor added, “I strongly disagree with his characterization of the children of immigrants and find the comments inexcusable.”

It’s about time.

GOP leadership has had numerous opportunities over the years to show Americans they are not a party of hate. Here are just a few examples of missed opportunities:

Steve “Livestock” King

  • “I want to put the fence in, but I want to put a wall in, and I designed one. … I also say we need to do a few other things on top of that wall, and one of them being to put a little bit of wire on top here to provide a disincentive for people to climb over the top or put a ladder there. 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.”  
  • “You want a good bird dog? You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest … not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner…You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we’ve got the pick of every donor civilization on the planetWe’ve got the vigor from the planet to come to America.” 
  • “Some claim that the Arizona law will bring about racial discrimination profiling. First let me say, Mr. Speaker, that profiling has always been an important component of legitimate law enforcement. If you can’t profile someone, you can’t use those common sense indicators that are before your very eyes. Now, I think it’s wrong to use racial profiling for the reasons of discriminating against people, but it’s not wrong to use race or other indicators for the sake of identifying that they are violating the law.”
  • ‘It’s just a common sense thing. Law enforcement needs to use common sense indicators. Those common sense indicators are all kinds of things, from what kind of clothes people wear – my suit in my case – what kind of shoes people wear, what kind of accident [sic] they have, um, the, the type of grooming they might have, there’re, there’re all kinds of indicators there and sometimes it’s just a sixth sense and they can’t put their finger on it. But these law enforcement officers, if they were going to be discriminating against people on the sole basis of race, singling people out, that’d be going on already.”

Louie “Terror Babies” Gohmert:

  • “I talked to a retired FBI agent who said that one of the things they were looking at were terrorist cells overseas who had figured out how to game our system. And it appeared they would have young women, who became pregnant, would get them into the United States to have a baby… And then they would turn back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists.”

Ted “Grasshoppers” Poe

  • “Now it seems to me that if we are so advanced with technology and manpower and competence that we can capture illegal grasshoppers from Brazil, in the holds of ships that are in a little small place in Port Arthur, Texas on the Sabine River.  Sabin River, madam speaker, is the river that separates Texas from Louisiana.  If we’re able to do that as a country, how come we can’t capture the thousands of people that cross the border everyday on the southern border of the United States?  You know they’re a little bigger than grasshoppers and they should be able to be captured easier.

Jeff “Vagrant” Duncan

  • It’s kind of like having a house — and you’re not homeowners, a lot of folks in this room, but your moms and dads are — taking the door off the hinges and allowing any kind of vagrant, or animal, or just somebody that’s hungry, or somebody that wants to do your dishes for you, to come in. And you can’t say, ‘No you can’t come in.’ And you can’t say, ‘No you can’t stay all night.’ Or ‘No you can’t have this benefit, using my deodorant.’ All those things.”

Kansas Rep. Virgil “Shoot Them Like Hogs” Peck:

  • It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem.”

If the GOP is serious about rebranding its image and actually wants to reach communities they have alienated, it’s time for leadership to condemn each and every one of these – and future – comments made by those within their party. 


Guest blogger Melinda Warner contributed reporting. 

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