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White House: Rep’s immigration joke ‘unfortunate’

July 24, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Wednesday condemned a Republican congressman’s assertion that many immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as kids are actually running drugs.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the comments from Rep. Steve King “were extremely unfortunate, and I think a number of people have pointed out that they were offensive.”

“They certainly don’t help any efforts by Republicans to improve their standing among Hispanic Americans, I would assume,” Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. Hispanic voters strongly supported Obama in last year’s election, causing some Republicans to rethink their conservative approach to some immigration issues.

King told a conservative news website that “for every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds (59 kilograms) and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds (34 kilograms) of marijuana across the desert.”

Obama’s senior adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, wrote on Twitter that every Republican should condemn King’s remarks. A number of House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, have done so, with Boehner calling King’s comments “wrong.”

King has defended what he said, telling Breitbart, a conservative news outlet, on Wednesday that “what I said is objective, it’s true and it cannot be logically challenged.”