Republican Congressman Steve King says he stands by comments he made Monday that have drawn national attention and prompted a Republican congressional candidate in another state to cancel King’s speech at his campaign fundraiser in Colorado.
During an interview on the G. Gordon Liddy talk show, King said President Obama has a “default mechanism” that “favors the black person.” King also accused U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of not pursuing a series of cases because those accused were minorities.
“I have no regrets about what I said. I stand by what I said because what I said is accurate. It’s factual,” King said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa late this afternoon. “I think the president should answer and Attorney General Holder should answer for the justice department being used in the way it is, but what I said was accurate and it was objective.”
King said his comments have been “distorted” by “the left” for political gain.
“All of these things are politically motivated. You have the professional hyperventilators out there who have the radar screen up all the time, trying to find something that they can twist or embellish. That’s what’s going on,” King said during his interview with Radio Iowa. “I don’t want anybody to think that Steve King loses a minute’s sleep over this.”
During his talk radio appearance on Monday, King said Obama has a “default mechanism in him that breaks down on the side of race” and King said that was highlighted by Obama siding with the black Harvard professor who was arrested in his home by a white policeman after a neighbor called about a possible break-in. This afternoon, King told Radio Iowa he had waited to respond to the furor over his comments about Obama and the attorney general.
“I actually, when this first popped…I told my people here that handle my media: ‘Let’s let this cook for a couple of days and see if this pot will come to a boil,’” King said. “I don’t want to put it away in the first day because I think the American people need to have this debate about what appears to me to be an inclination on the part of the White House and the justice department and perhaps others within the administration to break on the side of favoritism with regard to race.”
The Democrat who’s challenging King in the fall election suggests King’s flair for sparking controversy is standing in the way of progress on issues important to western Iowans. Matt Campbell of Manning, the Democrat running against King, says King comments are “of concern” to residents in the fifth congressional district.
“I think they’re reflective of a pattern of Mr. King saying polarizing things,” Campbell says. “I think collectively they preclude meaningful work on issues important to the development of western Iowa because of statements such as this.”
During an appearance on the nationally-syndicated G. Gordon Liddy radio talk show on Monday King said he is “not a coward” when it comes to discussing the issue of race in America, and King added he is “happy to talk about these things.” Campbell is challenging King to a series of at least three debates before the fall election.
“He’s not debated since he’s been elected to congress and I think that’s something that, regardless of these statements, is incumbent on him to do,” Campbell says.
King, the owner of an earth-moving company, served in the state senate for six years and was first elected to congress in 2002. He is running this year for a fifth term in the U.S. House.
Campbell made his comments this afternoon during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa.