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Steve King Borrows Obama's Time Machine To Be Racist About Hurricane Katrina

Post-Racial America

The Washington Post today describes Rep. Steve King as the "Iowa Republican who has made a series of statements embracing white nationalism." This is a polite way of saying he's a racist asshole -- though points for not saying he's "controversial" or "racially tinged" and calling it a day. Even his own party leaders grudgingly conceded he's a big old racist racist and publicly chastised him way back in the distant past of January. Well, he's at it again. What a shocker!

Thursday, King was at a town hall in Charter Oak, Iowa, where he applauded Iowans for their response to recent spring flooding. His bigoted brain thought it best to compare the resiliency of his state's predominately white residents to the mostly black victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

KING: We go to a place like New Orleans, and everybody's looking around saying, "Who's going to help me? Who's going to help me?"

That seems a reasonable reaction to the massive losses suffered in one of the deadliest hurricanes in almost a century. But black people are shiftless and refuse to just drown quietly. It's frankly un-American. Helping suffering black people personally irritates King. He was one of 11 jerks in Congress to oppose federal funding for Katrina victims. He wasn't interested unless something had happened to the statue of Old Hickory in Jackson Square.


KING: We go to a place like Iowa, and we go see, knock on the door at, say, I make up a name, John's place, and say, "John, you got water in your basement, we can write you a check, we can help you." And John will say, "Well, wait a minute, let me get my boots. It's Joe that needs help. Let's go down to his place and help him."

It's unclear why everyone has such nondescript names in King's racist Mayberry anecdotes. Meanwhile in reality, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is currently seeking federal funds to cope with the damage the floods have caused. Even "John" and "Joe" might get a taste of the $1.6 billion requested.

Obviously, people in New Orleans were just as willing to help members of their community as people in Iowa. Although it might alarm King to learn this, it's because they share similar human DNA. No one in New Orleans sat around waiting for the government to sort of, maybe, get around to helping them.

"I kept hearing the word animal, and I didn't see animals," a woman named Denise Moore told the public-radio program This American Life about her time at the Superdome. Instead, she saw self-organized activities by "gangster guys" who broke into abandoned stores. Although they might have looked like looters, they were salvaging fresh clothes for those who needed them, "juice for the babies, water, beer for the older people, food, raincoats so that they could all be seen by each other."

Katrina survivors also turned out to help people in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. They remembered the kindness and generosity the residents showed them more than a decade earlier. It almost seems like everyone is a decent human being except for Steve King.

It's hard to imagine that anyone's shocked and disappointed to see that King is still unrepentantly racist. Republicans just took away his committee assignments. They didn't handcuff him to Sidney Poitier or give him a part-time job driving around Mahershala Ali. There's no real potential for a sympathetic white racist character arc. If you want to shock him into true redemption, you'd need to send three black spirits to visit him the night before Martin Luther King Day. We'd just hope he could avoid calling them "spooks."

No Republicans so far have denounced King's latest racist relapse. Even Gov. Reynolds remains silent while waiting for the sweet, sweet government cheddar that King finds so offensive ... at least when any of it goes to help black people.

[ WaPo / CBPP / The Atlantic]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins is playing NOW at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo. All Wonketters welcome.

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!

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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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