In 2013, Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa declared in ugly and offensive terms his opposition to a law that would have allowed some undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to remain in the country conditionally:
“We have people that are mules, that are drug mules, that are hauling drugs across the border and you can tell by their physical characteristics what they’ve been doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back and if those who advocate for the DREAM Act, if they choose to characterize this about valedictorians, I gave them a different image that we need to be thinking about because we just simply can’t be passing legislation looking only at one component of what would be millions of people.
“For everyone who’s 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. Those people would be legalized with the same act.”
King’s ignorant and bigoted remarks (for which he never apologized) were repudiated by both Democrats and Republicans– including Congressman Goodlatte, who declared them “not helpful” and “inappropriate.”
This is not a one-off for King, who has a long history of speaking and acting with ignorance and bigotry.
Most recently King lent credence to President Donald Trump’s bizarre lie that he lost the popular vote in the 2016 election because millions of people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton.
So what does it tell us about Goodlatte that he has appointed Steve King as chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice?
“His expertise on many of the issues facing our nation and the committee make him well-suited to serve as chairman of the Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee,” Goodlatte said in a written statement. “I look forward to working with him as we seek to safeguard Americans’ liberties and promote an efficient and just legal system.”
Perhaps Goodlatte should be reminded that someone like King has no business being in Congress, let alone chairing an important subcommittee of Congress.