Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has challenged three top Senate Democrats to a duel — but "not like Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton," the lawmaker was quick to clarify.
Unlike the famous confrontation in 1804 wherein Burr, the sitting vice president, shot and killed the ex-Treasury secretary, King would prefer to sort out philosophical differences with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin and Charles E. Schumer "like many men do it today: Not duel with 50 paces and pistols, but ... with microphones within arm's reach.
"If we're going to have some kind of rhetoric bouncing back between the House and Senate, let's do it face to face," King said. "Let's do it eye to eye."
The timing of King's speech of self-defense, however, might have been spurred by a news conference convened earlier in the day , wherein Schumer and Durbin called on House Republicans to advance immigration overhaul legislation — and called King the reason for their inaction.
"They have not lifted a finger," said Schumer of GOP leaders. "They're letting the Steve Kings call the shots. Steve King says do nothing, the House leadership does nothing."
"Some of the statements he's made have been part of a sad and time-honored tradition of nativism and prejudice against immigrants, and he continues that to this day," Durbin chimed in.
The Iowa Republican, who caught special heat last summer for saying that immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents were more likely to be "drug mules" with "calves the size of cantaloupes" than valedictorians, was none too pleased with the idea of other lawmakers trash-talking him behind his back.
"Chuck Schumer ... [on] May 1, 2014, on the floor of the United States Senate, he decided that he would target me and blame me for the things he believes are failures of the entire House of Representatives," said King. "Here are some of the quotes that Chuck Schumer called me: 'An extreme outlier on the issue of immigration reform,' closed quote ...Chuck Schumer represents the extreme outliers, and they are socialists, Marxists, progressives, liberal Democrats."
King was clear in his assessment of what would take place if Senate Democrats succeed in having their immigration overhaul bill, which includes a pathway to citizenship, signed into law:
"America would be wiped out from a perspective of the rule of law and the future and the destiny for our country if we allowed people like Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin to set the policy for immigration. If they did that, the rule of law, at least with regard to immigration, would be destroyed. It would be gone. We couldn't reconstruct it again in our lifetime. Not just our lifetime ... but the lifetime of this republic ... Has anybody read the Senate Gang of Eight immigration bill? I have. I've read through that entire bill, and I come to this conclusion: They have sent to us from the United States Senate a bill on immigration. It's expansive. It covers all kinds of things. It is this: It is instantaneous amnesty for almost everyone that's in America illegally."In the aftermath of King's remarks, Schumer didn't seem to be jumping at the chance to go tete-a-tete with the Iowan. He said, on Twitter:
When @SteveKingIA lets the House debate comprehensive #immigration reform on the floor, I'll happily debate him. -cs — Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 22, 2014Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.