In March, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, slammed Louisiana and New Orleans for the official response to Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, drawing rebukes from officials including Gov. John Bel Edwards. King did so again yesterday at a town hall in Hornick, Iowa, which was flooded two month ago when its own levee breached.
"I've been to other disasters, hurricane disasters, where people didn't step up like you all stepped up here in Hornick. And so, I mentioned that," King said, according to an account in the Sioux City Journal. "I am going to omit the geography here, so we don't end up with a national media firestorm.
"But everybody in that state had to get on their Twitter account or do a press conference to tell how offended they were that, I guess, they didn't meet the standards of Hornick."
Those of us who lived through Katrina remember spending money on garbage bags, not Gucci bags.
In March, Edwards had responded to King's earlier remarks, tweeting, "These comments are disgusting and disheartening. When communities are affected by disasters, we come together to help each other, not tear each other down."
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise chimed in, saying, "His comments about Katrina victims are absurd and offensive, and are a complete contradiction to the strength and resilience the people of New Orleans demonstrated to the entire nation in the wake of the total devastation they experienced."
U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat who represents New Orleans, was more blunt:
"My heart goes out to all Iowans," Richmond tweeted. "Though it unsettles me that @SteveKingIA would dare compare them to the countless victims of Katrina, many of whom lost their lives. When people show you who they are, believe them. Steve King is a white supremacist and I won’t stand for it."
Richmond's "white supremacist" comment came a couple of months after King had given a controversial interview to The New York Times, in which he asked, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
Public reaction — from both Democrats and Republicans — was swift. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning white supremacy (for which King voted yes) and removed King from the powerful Judiciary and Agricultural Committees.
King made reference to those removals yesterday, according to the Sioux City Journal: "King said some House members, unasked by him to take the step, are working to see him put back on committees. 'They were appalled by the injustice of this,' King said, while asserting he was misquoted by the Times."