Representative Steve King (R-IA), who has been criticized for holding racist and white nationalist views, has courted controversy again after he tweeted a questionable quote linking the religious concepts of heaven and hell to examples of President Donald Trump's immigration policy at work.
"Heaven has a wall, a gate and a strict immigration policy," King tweeted. "Hell has open borders."
“Heaven has a wall, a gate and a strict immigration policy. Hell has open borders.” https://t.co/4ViNDQZ2hH— Steve King (@Steve King)1549892669.0
King lifted the quote from a grocery store ad mailer for Mac's Cashsaver stores in Arkansas. The current mailer includes those words, a reference to Trump's calls for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Manager Jack Digby has scoffed at the criticism the mailer has received, telling reporters:
"They’re just making a political spin out of it and getting the wrong idea of what it really means. I am for the company and I am for God. There’s nothing wrong with what that statement says."
King was roundly criticized.
@SteveKingIA This makes my heart sad. Totally negates love, mercy and grace, which is abundant. One of my favorite… https://t.co/OkMH64fTAn— Linda D-Smith (@Linda D-Smith)1549895319.0
@SteveKingIA On the other hand, they’re both made up places and because of that fact, they don’t provide a very goo… https://t.co/EEp6e08k95— Peace Day! Resist Ants! (@Peace Day! Resist Ants!)1549896223.0
@SteveKingIA At least you have a place to go. I’m sure you’re going have a hard time with the immigration policy.— Brad Tappenden (@Brad Tappenden)1549897824.0
@SteveKingIA You'll have to provide further updates on hell when you get there. We're all fascinated you're working… https://t.co/ThyvUy4YzA— Leah Petersen (@Leah Petersen)1549895848.0
Others responded to him with Bible verses that contradict the quote he shared.
@SteveKingIA Actually, @SteveKingIA , you have it backwards, according to Revelation. The devil is thrown into a bo… https://t.co/Fjhaf7WB0H— Pr. Erma Wolf (@Pr. Erma Wolf)1549897172.0
@SteveKingIA "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Matthew 22:39— Ben 'Baby Gourmet' Fewkes 🏵💀🎃 (@Ben 'Baby Gourmet' Fewkes 🏵💀🎃)1549896034.0
@SteveKingIA https://t.co/OTmrlOsBPO— Malaclypse (@Malaclypse)1549895779.0
@SteveKingIA Also, the New Jerusalem is where “The nations will walk by [God’s] light, and the kings of the earth w… https://t.co/aIJzjc8eBL— Pr. Erma Wolf (@Pr. Erma Wolf)1549897571.0
King's often inflammatory rhetoric about immigration and nationalism has made unsavory headlines before.
King was criticized as recently as last month after he questioned how terms such as “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” became offensive in the United States.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King told The New York Times in an interview which documented his hardline views on immigration. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
King’s statements prompted conservative commentator Ben Shapiro to call for King’s colleagues in Congress to censure him.
“Congress ought to vote to censure him, and then he ought to be primaried ASAP,” wrote, before asking his followers to donate to the campaign of Randy Feenstra (R), who announced he would run to unseat King.
Congress ought to vote to censure him, and then he ought to be primaried ASAP. https://t.co/W2qRdWvAjj— Ben Shapiro (@Ben Shapiro)1547135302.0
Donate to his primary challenger, Randy Feenstra, here. I plan on doing so. https://t.co/0RJIs63svi— Ben Shapiro (@Ben Shapiro)1547135972.0
King was also condemned last year after he defended his association with Austria’s Freedom Party, a group founded by a former Nazi SS officer and whose current leader was active in neo-Nazi circles.
“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans,” King told The Washington Post, at one point asking: “What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have?”
He has also aligned himself with the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, who said in December 2017 that “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”