Que, Que? Rep. Steve King Says He's as Latino as Julián Castro

Image: U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA) speaks during the Freedom Summit in Greenville, South Carolina
U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA) speaks during the Freedom Summit in Greenville, South Carolina May 9, 2015. REUTERS/Chris KeaneCHRIS KEANE / Reuters

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Suzanne Gamboa

Rep. Steve King, the Iowa congressman who preceded Donald Trump in angering Latinos and immigrants with incendiary anti-immigrant rhetoric, claimed on Twitter that he is as Hispanic and Latino as Housing Secretary Julián Castro.

A King spokeswoman did not respond to a request by email for further comment and King's office declined to contact her. Castro's office declined comment when contacted by NBC. King is not listed among Hispanic members of the House in a list kept by the House Press Gallery.

Castro is Mexican American. His grandmother immigrated from Mexico but he was born in the U.S. as was his mother. Some have questioned his Latino identity because English is his first language although he speaks and understands Spanish, but does not claim to be a native Spanish speaker. Castro has been considered a potential vice presidential candidate on the the Democrats 2016 ticket.

King is well known for his comments that many Latinos and immigrants have regarded as at least insulting and to some as racist or bigoted. His comments have confounded the GOP's ambition to improve its relationship with Latinos, but made him a darling of many conservatives.

He once said undocumented immigrants have calves the size of cantaloupes because they haul marijuana through the desert and those hauling marijuana outnumber those that are valedictorians.

He also suggested using an electrified fence on the border to keep out people who cross the border, saying they should be dealt with as livestock are. He suggested that senators who voted for comprehensive immigration reform wear a scarlet "A" for Amnesty.

King was responding to a tweet from @ImmigrantNacíon, which tweeted at him:

But even if the politicians weren't commenting, the Twitterverse was:

Jeb Bush, a GOP presidential candidate, had to deal with the Twitterverse after it was discovered that he had once marked "Hispanic" on a voter registration form, but he quickly disavowed that as a mistake and even took some ribbing from his Mexican-American son over it.