Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Monday said he hoped Supreme Court justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor would “elope to Cuba” so conservatives can take control of the country’s highest court.
King, an eight-term congressman, is running for re-election against Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten. He made the comment about Sotomayor and Kagan just hours before he was set to appear at a rally with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections.
A representative for King did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for clarification.
Later on Monday, King said it would be “hard to write a check” for a group that backed a gay candidate. He mentioned a year when the National Republican Congressional Committee supported a candidate in the California primary who had a same-sex partner and sent mailers out with the couple pictured on it.
“I don’t know if they were holding hands or what was the deal,” King said.
He didn’t name the candidate.
King attacked Sotomayor and Kagan in 2015 over their rulings in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. In September, he fiercely defended then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh against allegations of sexual misconduct. King’s comment on Monday appeared to indicate a hope that older, progressive-leaning justices might age off the court in time for President Donald Trump to appoint more justices like Kavanaugh.
King has a long history of making incendiary and bigoted comments. He recently drew backlash over an interview he gave to a far-right publication in Austria.
In the interview, King said he believed European cultures are superior to other cultures. He also expressed a belief that Europe and the United States are threatened by Muslim and Latino immigration.
“If we don’t defend Western civilization, then we will become subjugated by the people who are the enemies of faith, the enemies of justice,” King said.
The Republican has since lost a number of corporate donors, was condemned by the Anti-Defamation League and blasted by top House Republican Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) for expressing white supremacist beliefs.