CNN’s Anderson Cooper called out Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for continuing to spout thinly veiled racism after the congressman made remarks earlier this week insulting New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina victims.
The anchor, whose emotional coverage of the 2005 disaster cemented his cable news stardom, reviewed footage of King’s speech during his Friday night monologue. The congressman claimed the day before that a person with the Federal Emergency Management Agency had told him Iowans were willing to help each other recover from the Midwest’s devastating floods, but back in 2005, everyone in New Orleans was “looking around saying, ‘Who’s going to help me?’” New Orleans is a majority-black city.
The remarks “trafficked yet again in racist stereotypes and were simply not true,” Cooper said, rebuking them as “unfair” and “unbecoming of a member of Congress.”
“I’m not sure when comparing terrible one human tragedy to another terrible human tragedy became acceptable for elected officials or for anyone else for that matter,” he added. “There should be no sliding scale of suffering.”
Such comments are not new for King, who was stripped of his committee assignments and formally rebuked in January over remarks in support of white supremacy. At a town hall meeting last Tuesday, he refused to tell one of his constituents whether he feels white societies are superior to others because “that’s so hypothetical,” The New York Times reported.
Days before that, King sparked controversy over a violent meme on his Facebook page about “another Civil War.”
Earlier this month, King again faced scrutiny for promoting a white nationalist on Twitter who once appeared on a podcast made by The Daily Stormer, one of the internet’s most infamous neo-Nazi websites.
The list goes on.
Despite the lawmaker’s remarks, Cooper delivered a message of unity to his viewers.
“We are, all of us, human beings and Americans, and the words Congressman King spoke yesterday say a heck of a lot more about him than they do about anyone or anything else,” he said.