Steve King Hurricane Katrina, challenging the Iowa congressman.

Three Louisiana delegates to the U.S. House joined Rep. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans on Friday (March 22) in challenging the Iowa congressman who belittled Hurricane Katrina victims while touting “how Iowans take care of each other.” They were reacting to the latest eye-popping utterance from Rep. Steve King.

“His comments about Katrina victims are absurd and offensive, and are a complete contradiction to the strength and resilience the people of New Orleans demonstrated to the entire nation in the wake of the total devastation they experienced,” Rep. Steve Scalise of Old Jefferson said of his fellow House Republican.

Said Rep. Ralph Abraham of Alto, a Republican who is running for governor: “Louisianians have faced our fair share of adversity, and I’m always amazed at how quickly we rally from across the state to help one another when disaster strikes. Anyone who would say otherwise doesn’t know the real Louisiana. I wholeheartedly reject the comments that disparaged our state and her people during one of the most difficult times in Louisiana’s history. We experience hardship together, and we rebuild together because there are no more resilient people in this country than Louisianians.”

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Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Benton, said, “Louisianians are some of the strongest, most committed and most resilient people in the world, and we have proven that over and over again. We certainly proved it in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Not only do we step up to help our neighbors at home, we deploy countless citizen-led efforts, like the ‘Cajun Navy,’ to areas all across this country to help other Americans in need. Any suggestion otherwise is absurd and deserves to be universally denounced.”

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Richmond on Thursday said, “Steve King is a white supremacist and I won’t stand for it.”

King, first elected to Congress in 2002, has a history of racially insensitive comments. He delivered the latest on Thursday during a community meeting in Charter Oak, Iowa, while talking about riverine flooding in his 4th Congressional District. He contrasted local self-sufficiency with government handouts to majority-black New Orleans in 2005, after Katrina struck and federal levees failed.

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“We’re Iowans, and I’m always proud of our reaction to this. I’ve worked with the FEMA people for a long time,” King said, recalling four trips to New Orleans after Katrina. “I saw that from the air and from the ground and went back and did what we could to help those folks down there.

“But here’s what FEMA tells me: ‘We go to a place like New Orleans and everybody’s looking around saying, “Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help me.” ‘ … They’re just always gratified when they come and see how Iowans take care of each other.”


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