King faces controversy over critical post of Parkland shooting survivor




Danielle Gehr

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has been criticized for a controversial Facebook post Sunday mocking a Parkland shooting survivor for a patch of a Cuban flag on her arm.

The Facebook post, which was still up as of Monday, featured a photo of Emma González, 18, who spoke at the Washington D.C. March for Our Lives and took six minutes and 20 seconds of complete silence — the amount of time it took for 17 Florida students to be shot and killed at her high school. 

“This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense,” the post said. 

The post received 3,400 reactions and 10,607 shares.

One commenter wrote, “A United States Congressman, quite literally attacking a child in hope of protecting guns.” 

Someone from King’s staff responded through his Facebook and signed it “Team King.” 

“Nah, just pointing out the irony of someone wearing a communist flag while advocating for gun control,” the reply said. 

The Washington Post reported that a spokesman for King’s campaign said that the King for Congress Facebook page is managed by the campaign team, not the congressman himself.

“And the meme in question obviously isn’t an attack on her ‘heritage’ in any way,” the spokesman wrote in an email to the Washington Post. “It merely points out the irony of someone pushing gun control while wearing the flag of a country that was oppressed by a communist, anti-gun regime. Pretty simple, really.”

Univision reported that González’s father immigrated from Cuba to New York in 1968.

Other attempts to discredit the teen activist was a fake photo of González ripping up the constitution. This was taking from a Teen Vogue article about young activists which showed González ripping up a shooting range target. 

King, 68, has held the 4th District U.S. Congressional chair since 2003 after holding a seat in the Iowa State Senate from 1996 to 2002. He has been a vocal supporter of President Trump and anti-immigration policies.

King tweeted a link to an anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant website Voice of Europe, “Hungary’s PM: Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but to a lower one.”

“Diversity is not our strength. Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, ‘Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one,’” King tweeted along with a link to the article which shows a photo of a refugee camp.

Two minutes later, King sent out a second tweet expanding on this.

“Assimilation has become a dirty word to the multiculturalist Left. Assimilation, not diversity, is our American strength,” King tweeted.

King has met controversy for his statements in the past. In March 2016, King claimed in a tweet “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

Reginald Stewart, vice president for diversity and inclusion at Iowa State, stated the University has been clear on their position on diversity when asked to respond to the tweet.

Stewart referred to the 2004 Iowa State University Principles of Community, specifically “richness of diversity: we recognize and cherish the richness and diversity in our university experience. Furthermore, we strive to increase the diversity of ideas, cultures and experiences throughout the university community.”

King won his last election by an over 20 point margin against Democratic candidate, Kim Weaver.