Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Monday that he hopes Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor “will elope to Cuba,” hours before he was 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 Tuesday.
At an appearance in Hampton, Iowa, King was discussing the Supreme Court and said that he was optimistic that “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 President Barack Obama’s two Supreme Court appointments.
A spokesman for King did not immediately respond to a request for clarification of the congressman’s remarks.
Rubenstein had previously written a Weekly Standard piece in which he described King as “America’s most deplorable congressman.”
King was to appear Monday night with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who is facing a tough reelection bid of her own. Reynolds’s Democratic opponent, Fred Hubbell, criticized Reynolds 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 penned 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.”
Later Monday, King tweeted a video of Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) urging voters to support him.
“Iowa needs Steve King in Congress. I also need Steve King in Congress,” Grassley says in the 90-second, straight-to-camera clip. “He’s worked with so many things that are important to Iowa: agricultural issues, the farm bill, alternative energy, things that are very important to Iowa, like wind energy, particularly — oh! And ethanol, and biodiesel, as well.”