Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Wednesday that during a recent visit to a migrant detention facility he drank from a toilet that also served as a water fountain and that the water was "actually pretty good."
"I actually went into that cell where it was reported that they were advised they had to drink out of the toilet,” King told a crowd of about 80 people at a town hall in Eagle Grove, Iowa. "I took a drink out of there. And actually pretty good."
King’s story was in reference to conditions inside immigration detention facilities in Texas that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and others have described as abysmal.
In July, following a visit to two facilities, Ocasio-Cortez said she'd learned that Customs and Border Patrol officers were telling detained women to "drink out of the toilet."
Toilets that also serve as a water fountain have been used in Border Patrol facilities for years, as well as in jails around the U.S. But where they were once used by the mostly single men crossing the border, now dozens of other people, including young children, in custody are being forced to use hybrid device.
Meanwhile, King, who has a long history of inflammatory statements, attempted to explain how the devices work and called reports of people having to drink from toilets “misinformation” that was a result of detainees not being able to speak English.
"In the back where the lid would be on our toilet, that’s also sealed. And there’s a water fountain there, you push the button, the water comes out and you take a drink, it’s how it is," King said. "It’s not drinking out of the toilet, it’s drinking out of the water fountain that’s integral with the back of the toilet."
"But I think there was a little language barrier there and so that’s how come we got that misinformation," he said.
Lawyers who recently visited two Texas facilities at which migrant children were held said that children and teens had not been able to shower in weeks. They also reported an inadequate food supply and flu outbreaks. A facility meant for 100 had 350 children, and kids as young as 7 or 8 were forced to care for toddlers, NBC News has reported.