Peter King To Leave Congress, No Not Steve King, The *Other* Bigot
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) announced on Facebook this morning that he won't run for reelection next year, making him the 20th Republican in Congress to call it quits before next year's referendum on Donald Trump -- or maybe "President Pence." The Long Island Republican is one of those Republican "moderates," meaning he's generally rightwing on everything but has also been the rare R who's cosponsored some bills calling for modest gun safety reforms like universal background checks.
In his statement, King said he'd talked it over with his wife and kids (they're both adults), and decided that "after 28 years of spending 4 days a week in Washington, D.C., it is time to end the weekly commute and be home in Seaford." We're not sure if that translates to dead girl, live boy, or whopper of a financial scandal. Or perhaps he just wants to be able to get out while the getting's good, although he emphasized that while he's still in Congress he plans to vote against impeaching Trump, and to support Trump's 2020 bid.
Around Wonkette, Pete King will always be remembered as the guy who thought the IRA was a great bunch of freedom fighters but who disliked other terrorists -- which he figured had to include most American Muslims. He was also known to most Americans as "Oh, Peter King. The bigot from New York, not the bigot from Iowa."
Back in the 1980s, King wasn't just sympathetic to the cause of Catholics in Northern Ireland, he was an outright supporter of the Irish Republican Army. He raised funds for Noraid, an Irish-American outfit that sent money (and maybe guns? It was rumored!) to the IRA. And he said this at a rally in Nassau County, New York, in 1982:
We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry.
Yes, that's the same IRA that had been bombing British soldiers throughout the '70s, assassinated Admiral Louis Mountbatten in 1979, and in 1982 killed eight unarmed soldiers in Hyde Park in London, but they had it coming for being in a military parade. In 1984, the IRA tried to kill Margaret Thatcher with a bomb, but only managed to murder five civilians (including a member of Parliament) and injure 31. Just a year later, King said things happen in a brave Freedom Struggle: "If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the IRA for it." He didn't actually publicly disown the IRA until 2005, and then largely because he was grumpy that the Republic of Ireland hadn't been supportive of the Gulf War.
Following 9/11, King got religion, or at least religious bigotry, and managed to find a nice broad brush with which to paint all Muslims. In 2007, King called for intensified surveillance of mosques, explaining to Politico that there are "too many mosques in this country" and
There are too many people sympathetic to radical Islam [...] We should be looking at them more carefully and finding out how we can infiltrate them.
His office complained that his comments had been taken out of context, and that he'd only meant too many mosques that are soft on radicals, is all, although he also said on a Sean Hannity radio show that 85 percent of American mosques have "extremist leadership." In 2011, King launched hearings to look into why American Muslims are probably on the path to killing you -- and made sure that the hearing room prominently displayed a great big photo of the World Trade Center in flames, in case anyone forgot that's what Muslims are all about. He somehow allowed Rep. Keith Ellison, a known Muslim, to speak at the hearings, where Ellison shamed King's bigotry.
Ellison breaks into tears explaining story. youtu.be
Since then, King has been a reliable vote for almost every bad Republican idea, with the exception of his support for gun safety measures, and while it was nice to have one lonely R voting for decency now and then, we aren't going to miss him. Now, if the voters of Iowa get their act together next year and get rid of their state's biggest embarrassment, there won't be any further confusion after 2020.
And now Pete King can transition to the inevitable career in a conservative think tank, with a side gig on cable news, where he can call for "bipartisanship."
And right on cue, minority leader Chuck Schumer got all nostalgic for the good old days when you could cooperate with the occasional bigot:
Peter King stood head & shoulders above everyone else He’s been principled & never let others push him away from h… https://t.co/f049ZdptvC— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1573476625.0
Too many mosques, or too many old white guys?
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