The White House says a Republican congressman's comment in an exclusive Newsmax interview about the achievements of young immigrants in the U.S. illegally is extremely unfortunate.
Specifically, Rep. Steve King of Iowa has come under attack from the left and the right for telling Newsmax that "for every one who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."
White House spokesman Jay Carney says many people found King's comments offensive. He says those comments don't help Republicans improve their political standing among Hispanics.
Obama's senior adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, wrote on Twitter that every Republican should condemn King for comparing the youth to drug mules. He says immigrant youth represent what's great about the U.S.
On Tuesday, several leading Republicans did criticize King.
"What he said is wrong," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement on Tuesday. "There can be honest disagreements about policy without using hateful language. Everyone needs to remember that."
“I strongly disagree with his characterization of the children of immigrants and find the comments inexcusable,” Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., added in a statement.
And South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy argued that "the number of people that have Steve King's precise ideology with respect to immigration is not a sufficient number to derail anything."
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