Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Monday that he hopes Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor “will elope to Cuba,” hours before he is set to appear with Iowa’s governor in an election-eve rally.
King has a long history of making inflammatory comments on race and immigration. He recently drew a rebuke from a top Republican Party leader and lost support from corporations including Land O’Lakes, although he is still favored to win reelection on Tuesday.
At an appearance in Hampton, Iowa, King was discussing the Supreme Court and said he was optimistic “we’ll have a 7-2 court” after Tuesday’s midterms, according to Weekly Standard assistant opinion editor Adam Rubenstein.
King added that perhaps “Kagan and Sotomayor will elope to Cuba,” referring to former President Obama’s two nominees to the court.
A spokesman for King did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on the congressman’s remarks.
Rubenstein had previously authored a Weekly Standard piece in which he described King as “America’s most deplorable congressman.”
King is a co-chair of a Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’s reelection campaign and is set to appear Monday night her. Reynolds, a Republican, is in a tight race, and her Democratic opponent, Fred Hubbell, criticized her in a tweet, saying, “instead of removing Steve King as your co-chair, you close your campaign standing beside him.”
“The message is clear: you stand with Steve King’s actions,” Hubbell said.
Reynolds’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hubbell’s criticism.
King’s remarks come less than a week after he was rebuked by Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, over what Stivers described as King’s “completely inappropriate” comments about white nationalism.
The head of the Anti-Defamation League also wrote a letter to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) calling for King to be formally censured over his alleged anti-Semitic words and actions.
In response to Stivers’s criticism, King issued a statement on Twitter last week in which he denounced “Establishment Never Trumpers” and attacks that he said were “orchestrated by nasty, desperate, and dishonest fake news” and aimed to “flip the House and impeach Donald Trump.”