House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) called Rep. Steve King (R-IA) an “asshole” to Democrats last year after King said that not all illegal immigrant “DREAMers” are valedictorians, and some, “with calves the size of cantaloupes,” are known drug smugglers.
In an article in the Texas Monthly, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) wrote that after Boehner denounced King’s comments last year, “Another Texas Democrat and I were standing a few feet away, and as the speaker passed us we thanked him for denouncing King’s offensive comments.”
“He slowed his stride and then paused to turn toward us,” Castro wrote. “‘What an asshole,’ he said. My thoughts exactly, Mr. Speaker.”
In response, King, throwing Boehner’s words about him back at the Speaker, said that Boehner’s coarse language “does not reflect the values” of the American people or the Republican Party.
“There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language,” King said in a written statement to The Des Moines Register Friday. “Everyone needs to remember that. I want to be clear. There’s no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from elected officials. What he said does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party, and we all need to do our work in a constructive, open and respectful way.”
Here are Castro’s words in the Texas Monthly:
In July Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a tea party Republican from Iowa, compared DREAMers to drug mules with “calves the size of cantaloupes.” King’s comments sparked blowback, prompting Speaker Boehner to address the issue at a press conference. The speaker deemed King’s comments “deeply offensive and wrong” and reassured the public that the comments did not “reflect the values of the American people, or the Republican Party.”
The Democratic caricature of the speaker is that he’s an overly tan, overly emotional cat-herder who has lost control of his flock, but in person, he comes across as approachable and down-to-earth, and you can see how he earned the trust of his colleagues and became their leader. On a day not too long after Boehner’s political body check of Rep. Steve King (R-IA) for his immigration comments, the speaker was milling around the aisle walkway in the middle section of the House floor where the Democratic and Republican territories meet. Another Texas Democrat and I were standing a few feet away, and as the speaker passed us we thanked him for denouncing King’s offensive comments. He slowed his stride and then paused to turn toward us. “What an asshole,” he said. My thoughts exactly, Mr. Speaker.