Steve King: I Was Right and I Won't Apologize

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve King not only isn't sorry about his controversial comments about illegal immigrants, he's taking credit for correcting other lawmakers' statements.  

In a recent interview with his local newspaper, the Spencer Daily Reporter, King deflected all criticism waged against him and stuck by his attempts to thwart efforts by House leaders on both sides of the aisle to move forward with an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.  

"I'm not going to apologize. What I've said is objectively true, and any time that Republicans have criticized me, it's not because of what I said, it's because they disagree with my agenda," said King, whose interview was broadcast Thursday by the liberal blog Right Wing Watch. He was responding to a reporter's question about what King might say to fellow Republicans who are "upset with what they term the 'harsh rhetoric' of the strong right."  

King got considerable flak for comments he made this past summer about the immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents, the "DREAMers."  

"For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert," King told the conservative website Newsmax in July.  

King alluded to that episode in his Daily Reporter interview, saying that the statement actually played a role in shaping the immigration rhetoric of the left.  

"I've laid out, and sometimes I've made the point for years, and they weren't listening," King explained, "so I found another way to get them to pay attention. So for example, [Senate Majority Whip] Dick Durbin, as far as I know, no longer describes the dreamers as valedictorians. We've corrected that major flaw and sometimes we have to, otherwise it distorts the public's understanding."  

He also likened pressure from his peers to soften his tone with a confrontation with a constituent during his days as an Iowa state senator:

"They cannot make a point about anything I've said that was anything other than true ... I just remember when I was in a debate at Iowa State University back when I was in the State Senate, and it was about same-sex marriage. And one of the people ... went to the microphone and he said, 'why don't you just be progressive and get with it like Holland?' ... And I said, 'you're asking me to emulate Holland? Why would I emulate Holland? ... They have euthanasia and abortion and legalized drugs and prostitution,' and when I said that he gasped into the microphone and I said, 'what's the matter? It's true, isn't it?' And he kind of whimpered, 'you didn't have to say it that way.' "Is it really true that we're to this point in society that now if you disagree with someone, you don't have the argument ... you have to instead call names and criticize the utilization of the language?"