The often-controversial Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa said on a radio show Monday that President Obama's policies favor black people.
On G. Gordon Liddy's radio show, King said, "The president has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race - on the side that favors the black person." (RealClearPolitics has audio of the remarks available here.)
King made that remark in a discussion about Arizona's controversial new immigration law, which makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires law enforcement officials to question a person about his or her immigration status during a "lawful stop" if there is "reasonable suspicion" that person may be in the country illegally. Mr. Obama has said the law could lead to racism against Latinos.
The Justice Department, under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, is reviewing the law to determine whether it is constitutional.
"When you look at this administration, I'm offended by Eric Holder and the president also, their posture," King said. "It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes to race, and I don't know what the basis of that is, but I'm not a coward when it comes to that. And I'm happy to talk about these things, and I think we should."
Holder did last year say, "In things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," but he did not specifically call white people cowards.
In addition to the president's statements about the Arizona law, King criticized the president's remarks about the conflict between Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and police officer James Crowley (which led to last year's "beer summit") and the Justice Department's unwillingness to investigate the community organizing group ACORN.
Also yesterday, King requested that Mr. Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, testify before Congress in order to address "the public perception that favoritism played a role in the grant of asylum to Ms. Onyango." The half-sister of Mr. Obama's late father, Onyango moved from Kenya to the United States in 2000 and was granted asylum last month.
King has made a number of inflammatory comments in the past. Earlier this year, he said voting on health care reform on a Sunday was an affront to God. In 2008, he said terrorists would "dance in the streets" if Mr. Obama won the presidency.