White House, GOP condemn congressman's immigration remark

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2013.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON The White House on Wednesday condemned a Republican congressman's assertion that many immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as kids are actually running drugs.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the comments from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, "were extremely unfortunate, and I think a number of people have pointed out that they were offensive."

"They certainly don't help any efforts by Republicans to improve their standing among Hispanic Americans, I would assume," Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One as the president traveled to deliver an economic speech in Galesburg, Ill.

King told a conservative news website that "for every one 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."

Obama's senior adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, wrote on Twitter that every Republican should condemn King's remarks. A number of House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, have already done so, with Boehner calling King's comments "wrong."

"There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language," Boehner said in an emailed statement. "Everyone needs to remember that."

Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., had told King that such language is "offensive and it is beneath the dignity of this body and this country."

King has defended what he said, telling Breitbart, a conservative news outlet, on Wednesday that "what I said is objective, it's true and it cannot be logically challenged."