Steve King (file photo)

Iowa Fourth District Congressman Steve King is criticizing his fellow congressional members who say they will boycott the inauguration ceremonies for Republican president-elect Donald Trump on Friday.

The Republican from Kiron, says he has long had questions about the Congressional Black Caucus, which is leading the protest. “When the Congressional Black Caucus was formed — I wasn’t in public life then — but I remember my opinion, which is: how can you establish a caucus that requires a skin color in order to be a member of it? But they have done that,” King says.

King says he is disappointed with fellow Congressman John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, and others in the Congressional Black Caucus who are leading the effort to boycott the inauguration.

“These are the people whose history and legacy was about integration, and yet they are segregating their own organization,” King says. “I’ve long called them — the Congressional Black Caucus — the self-segregating caucus, and the voice of that is John Lewis. So, in the end, we will always have racial strife in this country if we focus on race, rather than the things that unite us.”

 King says Lewis marched with the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior for civil rights and says the civil rights leader advocated for togetherness, not segregation. “I can’t imagine Doctor King, if he were alive, I can’t imagine him giving him his counsel and saying ‘let’s boycott the inauguration of the duly elected president of the United States.’ That’s contrary to the teaching and the speaking and summons and the prayers of Reverend King,” he says.

Congressman Lewis said last week he would boycott the inauguration because he doesn’t see Trump as a “legitimate” president in light of alleged Russian interference in the election.

(Reporting by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)