Yesterday, anti-immigrant blowhard and vice-chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was speaking to a crowd in Pocahontas, Iowa about how the US should be more selective about which immigrants it allows in, when he began comparing immigrants to dogs.
King told the crowd that he’s owned lots of bird dogs over the years and advised, “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.”
King suggested lazy immigrants should be avoided as well. “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 planet,” King said. “We’ve got the vigor from the planet to come to America.” The liberal research group American Bridge captured the comments.
While we see this as the latest addition to a long string of ridiculous and offensive things that elected officials have said about immigration and immigrants over the years, in King’s twisted mind, yesterday’s comments probably pass for a somewhat pro-immigrant statement. After all, he’s not comparing immigrants to livestock or comparing immigration to a “slow motion Holocaust.” He’s just talking about sorting them out without any regard whatsoever as to who they are as human beings.
King’s Democratic challenger for Congress, Christie Vilsack, slammed King for the comments, releasing a statement saying “if we’re going to have a real discussion on immigration, we should start by acknowledging that immigrants are human beings. Iowans are taught in their community, in their church, and at the dinner table to respect each other, not to compare people to dogs.”
Unfortunately, RNC chairman Reince Preibus was apparently loath to even acknowledge this humanity. When CNN’s John King played Preibus a clip of the Congressman’s comments and asked him to respond, Preibus not-so-subtly pretended to suddenly go deaf, prohibiting him from saying against or in favor.
John King: I want to you listen to a Romney supporter, Iowa congressman Steve King, and he’s talking here about immigrants and who should be allowed in the country and who shouldn’t be.
Steve King: You want one that’s going to be aggressive, pick the one that’s the friskiest, the one that eggs you most, not the one sitting on the corner. So you get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. We got the pick of every civilization on the planet.
John King: Forgive me, sir, but given your party’s challenge deficit struggles with Latino voters right now, listening to something like that has to make you bang your head off the wall.
Reince Priebus: John, I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear what he said. I couldn’t make it out…
John King: But does it also mean not having, not only Republicans, but Republicans who are the little pin that says they’re members of the United States congress, equating immigrants to dogs?
Priebus: John, I’m sorry, I couldn’t, honestly I couldn’t make out any of the clip you just showed. So obviously, I can’t be in a position to comment on it.
Bold move, Preibus. Your principled stand will have the Latino vote flocking.