Steve King’s campaign criticizes Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez
Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King is facing heat after someone managing his campaign’s Facebook page posted a meme on Sunday criticizing a Parkland student for donning a patch of the Cuban flag.
“This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense,” the meme said alongside an image of Cuban-American Emma Gonazlez, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, speaking at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington on Saturday.
The Cuban flag was adopted in 1902, more than a half century before Fidel Castro’s revolution and has been used as a symbol of nationalism by both the Cuban government and anti-Castro exiles.
In the comments section of the Facebook post, someone managing King’s Facebook page sparred with Brandon Wolf, one of the survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.
“When it was my community, where were you?” Wolf asked. “When it was Sandy Hook? Columbine? Were you on the sideline mocking those communities too? Did you question someone identifying as a mother? Did you question whether people like me were crisis actors?”
Wolf added: “Emma stood for 6 mins and 20 seconds to honor the lives of 17 gone too soon. The least you could do is shut your privileged, ineffective trap for 6 seconds to hear someone else’s perspective.”
The person managing King’s page responded: “Pointing out the irony of someone wearing the flag of a communist country while simultaneously calling for gun control isn’t ‘picking’ on anyone. It’s calling attention to the truth, but we understand that lefties find that offensive.”
As of Monday morning, the post is still up.
King’s congressional office has not responded to CNN’s request for comment, but told The Washington Post that the campaign team was responsible for the meme.
The campaign did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student and activist David Hogg asked Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to respond to King’s post.
“Hey @marcorubio @Emma4Change s family fled Cuba to escape totalitarianism and live in freedom just like your family could you please respond to @SteveKingIA,” Hogg tweeted.
It’s one of several posts on King’s page that have been critical of the activism displayed by the Parkland shooting survivors advocating for gun control.
King has a history of making statements critical of immigrants and minorities.
Last year, he praised prominent Dutch nationalist politician Geert Wilders, tweeting that Wilders “understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
In 2016, the Des Moines Register reported that a confederate flag was displayed on King’s desk.
“I don’t agree with that, and I guess that’s his decision,” then-Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, told the Register. “People have a right to display whatever they want to. But I’m proud to say we’re on the side of the Union. And we won the war.”
And in 2013, King explained his opposition to the DREAM Act, which would have granted legal status to young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, by suggesting it would open the border to good students and drug mules in equal measure.
“For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” he told Newsmax.