Colorado Representative Steve King has been a very vocal opponent of the president’s immigration policy and he recently had a chance to talk to two of the immigrants his opposition effects. The video was posted to Youtube on Monday and it shows two people identify themselves as DREAMers to King. One, identified as Erika Andiola, handed him her identification card made possible by Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). She said it was his opportunity to tear it up since that was what he was trying to do by ending DACA. Then ensued a long exchange between King and the two DREAMers in which he insults them during his Iowa fundraiser and Rand Paul makes a special (if short) appearance.
During the course of the video, King tries to explain that his opposition to DACA applies only to drug smugglers, something he repeats in a grating, condescending tone. The Washington Post noted his tone and related it back to one of the problems Republicans seem to be having over the immigration debate: public relations. King’s tone insults not only the intelligence of the two DREAMers who were raised in the United States, but it insults anyone watching him try to explain himself. Even those who support King’s efforts might have to think, “Would he talk to his supporters like that?” Instead of acting like an adult and speaking like one, Steve King comes off as churlish and hostile as he insults the DREAMers in the middle of his own Iowa fundraiser.
He also seems a little bigoted. King is talking to two people who were rraised in the United States and have called it their country for the majority of their lives. And yet, he treats them as if they had only just arrived across the border. The list of his insults ranges from “You can understand the English language so don’t act like you don’t” to “Your ears work” to “I’m really sorry you come from a lawless country.” It is worth noting that both DREAMers are accomplished people. Andiola worked for Representative Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona and Cesar Vargas has passed the bar exam. Telling them their ears work and that they come from a “lawless country” is not just insulting. It is meant to humiliate them.
Unfortunately for King, the news media has picked up the video and the DREAMers are not the ones who come off looking bad. But King is not the only one who might wish the video did not exist. Rand Paul makes a special appearance at the beginning of the video. He cordially shakes hands with both Vargas and Andiola, then resumes eating his burger. Once they identify themselves as DREAMers, however, he seems to choke a little bit. With the help of a nearby aid, he leaves the table in a hurry, thereby avoiding the verbal humiliation his friend King was exposed to. Nevertheless, his escape has had plenty of attention and headlines have said that he “flees in terror” from the conversation. This is not a very good look for the 2016 hopeful. Neither is being seen in the same video as Steve King insulting two intelligent DREAMers during an Iowa fundraiser.
By Lydia Bradbury