Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was the only congressman to vote against a resolution yesterday that acknowledges the role that slaves played in the construction of the U.S. Capitol Building, reports Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post. According to the text of the resolution, which passed 399–1, its simple goal is to recognize those who constructed the Capitol with a marker:
“Whereas enslaved African-Americans performed the backbreaking work of quarrying the stone which comprised many of the floors, walls, and columns of the Capitol…
Whereas recognition of the contributions of enslaved African-Americans brings to all Americans an understanding of the continuing evolution of our representative democracy; and
Whereas a marker dedicated to the enslaved African-Americans who helped to build the Capitol will reflect the charge of the Capitol Visitor Center to teach visitors about Congress and its development…”
King has never been afraid to stand alone, particularly when it comes to his blatantly racist sentiments. He has referred to both the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as “separatist groups” and immigrants as “livestock” who are waging a “slow-moving terrorist attack.” This past election season, he used Obama’s Kenyan heritage and middle name to proclaim that terrorists would be “dancing in the streets” if “Hussein Obama” won. In 2008, King also said that apologizing for slavery wasn’t about contrition, rather “White Americans wallowing in guilt.”
King has released a statement explaining why he opposed the resolution:
Last night I opposed yet another bill to erect another monument to slavery because it was used as a bargaining chip to allow for the actual depiction of ‘In God We Trust’ in the CVC. The Architect of the Capitol and liberal activists opposed every reference to America’s Christian heritage, even to the extent of scrubbing ‘In God We Trust’ from the depiction of the actual Speaker’s chair in the U.S. House of Representatives.