Republican congressman from New York Peter King has announced that he is retiring from Congress and the media and Democratic leaders have fallen over themselves praising him as a ‘moderate’ voice. But Mehdi Hasan writes that King is an unrepentant bigot and Islamophobe and this reaction tells us a lot about politics and the media.
Hurrah! One of the leading bigots on Capitol Hill is retiring. Right-wing Republican Peter King announced Monday that he will not be standing for reelection to the House of Representatives in 2020.
Yet media organizations, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to Vice News, lined up to describe the New York congressman as a “moderate” and insisted on framing his departure as a blow to Donald Trump and the Republican Party (King is the 20th Republican in the House to announce he’s standing down).
Even worse, the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, described King as standing “head & shoulders above everyone else” and “principled.” “I will miss him in Congress & value his friendship,” the Senate Minority Leader tweeted.
To which Kingian principles was Schumer referring? His call for George W. Bush to “get a medal” for torturing terror suspects? His repeated demands for journalists in the United States to be prosecuted? His refusal to “morally blame” his friends in the IRA for the killing of civilians? His insistence that Eric Garner was to blame for his own death, and not the NYPD officer who put him in a chokehold?
Or maybe it was his deep-seated and long-standing Islamophobia. In a rare media dissent on Monday, the Daily Beast’s Spencer Ackerman pointed out how “no legislator did more to demonize American Muslims” than the 14-term Republican representative from Long Island. “Long before there was Donald Trump, there was Peter King,” he wrote.
Schumer’s shameful tweet is a reminder that the Democrats need new leadership. They need senators and members of the House who are willing to call out Islamophobia and racism across the board, and who won’t sacrifice the safety or security of minority communities at the altar of “bipartisanship
Thank goodness there are some members of Congress willing to give him a kick as goes out the door.
Peter King is an Islamophobe who held McCarthyite hearings targeting American Muslims, said “there are too many mosques in this country” and blamed Eric Garner for his own death at the hands of police.
Good riddance. https://t.co/cYZOrnaK2M
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 11, 2019
I for one am glad the see the back of King.