WASHINGTON – Speaker of the House John Boehner attacked Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King’s comments on immigration, Thursday, calling them “hateful” and “ignorant.”
King caused a stir this week over comments about the so-called DREAMers, people who were brought into the country illegally when they were young children.
“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King said in a widely-publicized interview with Newsmax.
Boehner condemned King’s remarks earlier in the week, and struck an even harsher tone at his Thursday press conference, distancing himself from King’s comments.
“I want to be clear, there is no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from elected officials,” he said, speaking about immigration.
“Earlier this week, Rep. Steve King made comments that were, I think, deeply offensive and wrong,” he went on. “What he said does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party. We all need to do our work in a constructive open and respectful way. As I’ve said many times, we can disagree without being disagreeable.”
Boehner raised the issue unbidden, choosing to open his press conference with remarks about immigration, reiterating that “House Republicans are committed to fixing the broken immigration system,” and quickly segueing into a criticism of King’s statement.
“We don’t need to make this job more difficult,” he said later, acknowledging that “of course,” King’s “cantaloupes” comment makes discussions on immigration reform more difficult.
Boehner declined to say that King’s comments merited some kind of punishment, such as removal from a committee.
Watch King’s interview: