All In   |  July 24, 2013

Telemundo's Diaz-Balart confronts Steve King

Congressman Steve King of Iowa has been facing criticism over comments he made about the children of undocumented workers, telling a conservative website, "For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."  The GOP House leadership has condemned King's comments.  In the meantime, King is doubling down on his comments, and Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart met up with the congressman and asked him to explain his remarks. Chris Hayes reports on the latest in the Steve King saga, and talks with Diaz-Balart.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> i'm on a deadline, i will come back and talk to you.

>> do you regret saying those words, sir?

>> i'll talk to you about that later. okay?

>> steve king trying his darnedest trying not to discuss the comments that were made into the u.s. illegally. viewers of this network know that king has a bit of a track record when it am coulds to these kinds of things. he's compared latino immigrants to dogs and livestock. he's competed for the construction of a border fence , a wall covered on electrified barbed wire. we must assume he meant what he said last week, that is dreamers, children brought here by their parents.

>> they aren't all valedictorians, they weren't all brought in by their parents. for everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another out there that weigh 130 pounds and have calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the border. john boehner called the comments wrong. there can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language. king for his part isn't backtracking, he appears undeterred by the criticism and told an iowa radio station today, the words he used came from the border patrol .

>> this is not something i'm making up, we have people that are drug mules , hauling drugs across the border, you can tell by their physical characteristics what they've been doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back. those who advocate for the dream act . if they choose to characterize this as valedictorians, we have a different image we need to be thinking about.

>> do you want to bring a bunch of people with flabby calves into the country as well? the gop can try to spin this, they can condemn these remarks and claim steve king -- he is the gop immigration id without the super ego , and the id continues to run the party on this issue. if you need further proof as benji points out, king basically got the entire gop caucus to vote for his deport the dreamers amendment last month. that included eric cantor . the biggest problem for the gop is that even if steve king thinks he's dog whistling to conservatives, his bigoting is amplify amplified statement. jose belart met up with the congressman today to ask him about his remarks.

>> any comments, reaction to your comments that speaker boehner said? not very helpful?

>> i'd say they were serious about that, they were not. i can't find anybody to make a logical argument that disagrees with me.

>> i'd like to talk to you about that, do you have a chance?

>> joining me now is jose diaz , anchor for telemundo . is part of nbc universal . what you're going to get from republicans in the wake of this is the distancing rhetorically, my question to you is, how has this incident. how large does steve king loom in spanish language media that has been covering immigration much more thoroughly with much more attention than anglo media aspects.

>> huge, because it's one insult after another. you can go around saying somebody else told you that these young people with calves the size of cantaloupes are coming through the country with drugs. and then somehow equate that with dreamers, and somehow equate the dream act or any attempt at including the dreamers with these drug mules . somehow in some weird world , there is some relationship between that. i have been thinking about this, chris. if these numbers are correct, if for every good dreamer there are 100 drug mules coming, in and 36,000 -- 360,000 young dreamers have already been accepted by the deferred action, that would mean there would be 36 million drug dealers running wild in our streets. there's 50 million hispanics, so 75% of them are drug dealers , but with great calves.

>> slim, 1340 pounds, fantastic calves, incredibly fit. here's the question. this is my understanding of the political problem the republican party finds itself in with respect to immigration. i covered that 2006 , 2007 fight closely. and i listened to spanish language media and read spanish language media. everyone knew sensenbrenner's name, everyone. when you would go to a rally, there would be hundreds of thousands of people who didn't speak english, worked in kitchens, and they knew the key players in the republican party who wanted to criminalize them. my question to you is, is the same happening to the gop right now when steve king says something like this?

>> absolutely. absolutely. today on telemundo nightly news. we led with this story. and we had a gentleman in california who was a character characterist. and he drew a charicature of steven king . he does know that there's somebody on capitol hill who calls some latinos dogs and says that a good percentage of these young kids that were brought here as children and whose parents every single day work here and contribute to this economy and to this culture, and to this country are being demonized. you know what? unless something pretty big is done in response to this, it's all talk. but it's very hurtful and hateful.

>> had is a ricky martin tweet i saw today, just randomly, ricky martin tweeting about this. don't worry, not every american is/thinks like steve king .

>> and he has great calves.

>> i have this rule on this show, we don't cover people saying something bad. that actions matter more than words. the reason i think there's an exception here is precisely because king got all of the republicans in the house to vote to deport these same people that he's calling drug mules just a month ago. so my question to you is, what can the republican leadership do to actually defintively rebuke steve king . to actually have a headline tomorrow night on telemundo , that is going to be good for them, that is going to convince people that they are not a party of steve kings.

>> here's the headline. the republican party supports comprehensive immigration reform , have the courage. have the calves to say that, come out and say, the gang of 7 that's been working for four years, try to get a bipartisan agreement. we want to bring this through. we want this, a vote on this, and we need everybody to be able to vote up or down on comprehensive immigration reform . let's not forget, chris. as we speak today, 1,000 deportations occurred. 1,000 others will occur. and every single day there are thousands of deportations. that has nothing to do with this event on capitol hill . unless something is done, all of this hateful talk will continue to weigh more maybe than the voices that are asking for immigration reform , that are working for immigration reform within the republican party and are doing so behind my back as we speak.

>> pleasure to have you here, thank you so much.

>> thank you.

>>> something happened on the floor of the u.s. houston the that is honestly and truly the way congress is supposed to work. i'll show what you it was next. my