He calls us and our children “somebody else’s babies.”
He predicts blacks and Hispanics, the two largest and fastest-growing minorities in America, will turn against each other.
And so, the Racist of the Week Award goes to … U.S. Rep. Steve King.
It was a slam-dunk win — and believe me, there are plenty of candidates out there vying for the title these days.
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But the Republican from Iowa launched another memorable week of the Donald Trump presidency by expressing his own white supremacist delusions without a hint of shame or remorse.
Ahead of Wednesday’s election in the Netherlands, King tweeted his endorsement of a like-minded buddy, the far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders. He ended up broadcasting his own racist views and delusional vision for a homogenous United States.
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” King tweeted to applause and adulation from the likes of David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader.
I wonder how hard King worked to pack all that prejudice into 140 characters.
And, as if the “our babies vs. their babies” garbage weren’t terrible enough, King went on Iowa radio to predict that before blacks and Hispanics could overtake white Americans in numbers, as they’re predicted to do by 2050, they “will be fighting each other.” And on and on. King evoked notions of Hispanics and blacks as being equivalent with violence in a ridiculous bid to push Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda under the cloak of national unity, assimilation and cultural values.
“God knows what Rep. King would think of my grandson, who likes to tell me that in this arm he’s Puerto Rican, in this one he’s Mexican, but he says, Grandpa [in my heart], I am 100 percent American,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, in a stirring speech Thursday on the House floor, denouncing Republicans for remaining silent on King.
Somewhat tepidly, two of Miami’s Republican representatives, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo, did challenge King, as did Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, where people like King unfortunately abound.
“What exactly do you mean? Do I qualify as ‘somebody else's baby?’” tweeted Curbelo with the hashtag #concernedGOPcolleague.
This was not King’s first time offending the children of this immigrant nation.
In 2013, he put forth the notion that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution ought to be amended to keep the children of the undocumented born here from being American citizens. When he was challenged, King dug in deeper, equating undocumented immigrants with criminality. He was denounced by many then, but the truth is the criminalization of immigrants became the central idea with which Trump sold his presidential candidacy.
With Trump in the White House, what used to be a fringe element in this country is now in charge. They won. They have political power for the first time in decades. Yet instead of toning down the rhetoric for the sake of the same united country they speak of, they feel more emboldened than ever to spin venom. That they’re provoking hateful acts all over the country is of no concern. But they should be worried. For one, human-rights abusers like China are proudly claiming that the United States too has “a human-rights problem.”
And the best news of the week was that Wilders lost his bid to become the next prime minister of the Netherlands on an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim platform similar to Trump’s. Seeing what is happening in the United States — the rampant xenophobia and divisions Trump’s brand of populism has engendered — had to have some impact on Wilders’ loss of momentum. Europeans with a Trump-like candidate of their own are watching more attentively than ever how we unravel, how we lose respect and standing in the world.
It wasn’t long ago, in the age of inclusion, that such prejudice as King exhibited was tempered or camouflaged in this country. Emboldened by Trump and a largely silent GOP, racists are coming out of the closet and into the mainstream. Hateful as they are, at least we can now confront them openly and denounce them for what they stand for: a degradation of the country.
And so, I thank King for the opportunity to say it loudly. Like it or not, Mr. King, we’re all America’s babies.