DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A comment on an Iowa congressman’s campaign Facebook page about one of the survivors of a Florida school shooting prompted hundreds of comments, many met by mocking replies from the campaign.
U.S. Rep. Steve King’s campaign Facebook page on Sunday featured a picture of Emma Gonzalez as she gave a speech at Saturday’s “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington. Alongside a photo of Gonzalez, who wore a Cuban flag patch, the page noted: “This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense.”
Gonzalez is one of the students leading a call for gun control measures following the Feb. 14 shooting at a Parkland high school that left 17 people dead. Her speech at Saturday’s rally was among those drawing most attention, as she named those killed at the school and stood in silence for more than six minutes, representing the time the gunman took to kill them.
Hundreds responded with outrage, with many criticizing King for his comment about a young victim of a school shooting. The campaign replied to many messages by mocking liberals and saying they were misinterpreting the initial comment.
In one exchange, for example, a man commented, “A United States Congressman, quite literally attacking a child in hopes of protecting guns.”
That prompted a response, “Nah, just pointing out the irony of someone wearing a communist flag while advocating for gun control. – Team King”
King’s spokesman John Kennedy responded to an email seeking comment by referring questions to a campaign telephone number, which rang unanswered.
Since King was elected to Congress in 2002, the former construction company owner has repeatedly made statements that his opponents have called offensive.
Last year, King tweeted his support for a far-right Dutch politician who opposes immigration. He noted, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” In a later interview, King was asked about demographic changes that could mean whites will no longer make up a U.S. majority, and he predicted, “Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before that happens.”
King also has questioned how much nonwhites have contributed to civilization, and in 2013 he claimed some people crossing the border illegally have “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
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