Rep. Paul Ryan Was Set to Headline Fundraiser with Rep. Steve King, But Iowa GOP Goes to Great Lengths to Say King Declined Invite Weeks Ago
Questions Remain: Why Was King’s Name Listed on the Invite Just Days Ago? And Why Was Paul Ryan Willing to Appear Alongside Steve King?
This Friday, in Cedar Rapids, IA, potential 2016 Republican presidential contender Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is traveling to first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa to headline the state Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Dinner. Many members from the Iowa congressional delegation have been invited, including the notorious anti-immigrant extremist Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who recently said that young immigrants who want to enlist in the military should be deported and told them “we have a bus for you to Tijuana.”
The Iowa Republican Party’s invitation on Tuesday of this week listed Steve King as one of the featured invited guests, but as attention on the event began to escalate, the state GOP removed King’s name from the list of guests (see this revised screenshot here) and even called advocates to state that Steve King declined their initiation weeks ago.
As Matt Hildreth, Online Director for America’s Voice, said on todays’ call:
If King declined weeks ago, then why were they continuing to use his name to promote their event as of a few days ago? Clearly, the Iowa GOP thinks he’s a draw and Rep. Paul Ryan, who claims to be an immigration reform supporter, does too. Paul Ryan will come to Iowa dozens of times before the 2016 caucuses. We’ll be watching closely to see if he embraces or avoids Steve King. His success in any potential Presidential bid may well depend on it.
“Steve King continues to use lies and hate to promote a personal agenda,” said Joe Henry, President, League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa. “His use of racism against the Latino Community will not be tolerated and we urge members of his party to wake up and stop his campaign of hate.”
Vanessa Marcano, Organizer for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, said:
Iowans are not hateful, they are welcoming people. Steve King’s comments are on the fringe, and they’re either going to be met with a counter-mobilization, or they’re going to be acknowledged as comments that shouldn’t even be paid attention to. What we should be paying attention to is how broken our immigration system is, and how Republicans are refusing to move legislation in the House. As a result, we have people who are in danger of being deported, people who are in deportation proceedings, people who are at risk. Both parties should be aware of how this issue is going to affect them in the political sense, especially in a place like Iowa, where Latinos and immigrants are building power.
On Friday, outside the Double Tree Hotel in Cedar, IA where the Lincoln Dinner is being held, a group of local activists will gather to protest Rep. Ryan’s attendance of the event and show their support for moving immigration reform forward in the House.
“Immigration is not a political issue, it’s a justice issue because what we’re talking about is the dignity of human beings, and that is what is being attacked,” said Pastor Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz, Immigration Specialist for the Central District Iowa Conference of United Methodist Church. “Immigration is not a Democrat or a Republican issue but it’s a justice issue. Just as Jeb Bush said this past week, immigration is ‘an act of love,’ and people immigrate because they love their families and because they want to provide for them. This is the story of every person in this country. We’re talking about human beings. Every single day we have people giving their lives for their loved ones. This greater love is happening in front our faces every single day, and what do we do? We want to punish it, separate families, causing even more pain… and we call ourselves a Christian Nation.”
To listen to a recording of today’s call, click HERE.
To view the Iowa Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Dinner invitation as of April 8th, click HERE.
To view the latest Iowa Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Dinner invitation, click HERE.