House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the most powerful Republican in Congress, called his GOP colleague Rep. Steve King of Iowa an “a–hole” while speaking with two Democratic members on the House floor, according to Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas).
Castro described what happened in a story he wrote for the February issue of Texas Monthly magazine.
Back in July 2013, Rep. King, a conservative popular with the Tea Party, commented on illegal immigrants in an interview with Newsmax, saying that not all young illegals are valedictorians but that many smuggle drugs into America.
“[T]hey weren’t all brought in by their parents,” he said. “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
King was criticized for that remark by many Democrats, and Speaker Boehner said, “I want to be clear, there’s no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from elected officials. Earlier this week, Representative Steve King made comments that were, I think, deeply offensive and wrong. 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.”
But Boehner went further in front of two Democrats on the House floor.
As Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) explains in his article, “On a day not too long after Boehner’s political body check of Steve King for his immigration comments, the speaker was milling around the aisle walkway in the middle section of the House floor where the Democratic and Republican territories meet. Another Texas Democrat and I were standing a few feet away, and as the Speaker passed us we thanked him for denouncing King’s offensive comments.“
Castro continued, “He slowed his stride and then paused to turn toward us. ‘What an asshole,’ he said. My thoughts exactly, Mr. Speaker.”
CNSNews.com contacted Speaker Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, by e-mail and called the Speaker’s office to ask him about Castro’s story and the “a—hole” comment. Steel did not respond.
Representative King’s office told CNSNews.com that the congressman did not have anything to add beyond what he told CQ Roll Call on Jan. 31, that “the Speaker didn’t deny it.”
“We have not had that discussion,” King told Roll Call. “I don’t expect we will. That’s decorum on the floor of the House that shouldn’t have happened.”
In a statement to the Des Moines Register, King said, “There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language. … There’s no place in this debate for hateful or ignorant comments from elected officials. What he [Boehner] said does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party, and we all need to do our work in a constructive, open and respectful way.”