The Washington Post

Steve King defends drug mule claims

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen ) (Cliff Owen/AP)

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is defending comments he made last week that some undocumented high school students are drug smugglers.

Speaking against the DREAM Act or similar legislation that would give many illegal immigrants who came to the country as children legal status, King argued in an interview with Newsmax that many of the would-be beneficiaries are drug mules. 

“It seems as though I have a few critics out there, but those who have been advocating for the DREAM Act have been trying to make it about valedictorians," King said in an interview with Radio Iowa. "I don’t disagree that there are DREAMers that are valedictorians, but it also would legalize those that are smuggling drugs into the United States."

In his original comments, King claimed that “for everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

In his interview Tuesday evening, he doubled down on those comments saying, "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."

Republican leaders in the House condemned King's comments. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called them "wrong" and "hateful." House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said they were "inexcusable." During a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing Tuesday, Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.) described King's words as "beneath the dignity of this body."

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who has been heavily involved in immigration reform efforts, expressed hope Wednesday that King regretted his remarks.

"There's nobody in the conference who would say such a thing and I hope that he, if he thought about it, he wouldn't say such a thing again," Labrador said.

Undeterred, King told Breitbart News Wednesday that the pushback was a sign that he's winning the debate.

"When people start calling you names, that’s what confirms you've won the debate.”

 

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
GOP candidates react to Justice Scalia's death
Quoted
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
67% 22%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

March 6: Democratic debate

on CNN, in Flint, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.