After a disastrous and deadly flood hit his home state of Iowa this week, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) felt the need to compare his state’s flood victims with the victims of Hurricane Katrina, saying that Iowans were better equipped to “take care of each other.”
While addressing a town hall in Iowa Thursday morning, King recalled his experience visiting New Orleans after the 2005 hurricane.
“I saw that from the air and from the ground and went back and did what we could to help those folks down there,” he said. “But here’s what FEMA tells me: ‘We go to a place like New Orleans and everybody’s looking around saying, who’s gonna help me, who’s gonna help me?’’”
King went on to say FEMA workers prefer a “place like Iowa” where people assist one another.
“They’re just always gratified when they come and see Iowans take care of each other,” he said, “So that’s a point of pride that spreads across the country.”
Watch the video below:
King’s comments on the flood start at 6:30
Louisiana lawmakers were quick to respond to King’s comments. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called them “disgusting and disheartening.”
“When communities are affected by disasters, we come together to help each other, not tear each other down,” he tweeted Thursday night.
These comments are disgusting and disheartening. When communities are affected by disasters, we come together to help each other, not tear each other down. https://t.co/APpg8a82hW
— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) March 21, 2019
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) took his criticism of the Iowa congressman a step further, bringing up King’s past with making racist comments. Although not directly mentioned by either congressmen, the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 highlighted racial disparities and tensions in a city that is 60 percent black.
“When people show you who they are, believe them,” Richmond wrote on Twitter. “Steve King is a white supremacist and I won’t stand for it.”
My heart goes out to all Iowans. Though it unsettles me that @SteveKingIA would dare compare them to the countless victims of Katrina, many of whom lost their lives. When people show you who they are, believe them. Steve King is a white supremacist and I won’t stand for it.
— Rep Cedric Richmond (@RepRichmond) March 22, 2019
King’s office did not immediately respond to IJR’s request to comment.