Busted: Weekly Standard Drops Audio of Steve King Making Anti-Immigrant Remark He Denied Making


The Weekly Standard published an article last week by their assistant opinion editor Adam Rubenstein, reporting on an apparent slur against Mexican immigrants made by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) at a campaign stop. King’s office, and then King himself, not only denied the report but essentially dared the Weekly Standard to provide evidence.

So they did. The audio recording of him saying what they wrote that he said.

The first article described by narrative a campaign stop in a Webster City, Iowa restaurant with about 15 people in attendance. During an anecdote about hunting, he said he prefers to prepare his pheasant with peppers, and that he grows his own. “I raised a bunch this year, and they don’t have enough bite,” read the transcript. “I guess I’m going to have to go and get some dirt from Mexico to grow the next batch.”

Then, this:

Audience member: Trust me, it’s already on its way.

Steve King: Well, yeah, there’s plenty of dirt, it’s coming from the West Coast, too. And a lot of other places, besides. This is the most dirt we’ve ever seen.

“What began as a story about his pheasant hunting trip, turned into, what seems, a veiled jab at Mexicans—as understood and promoted by his audience—innuendo about Mexicans or Mexican Americans as ‘dirt’,” wrote Rubenstein.

King’s office pushed back, emailing to the Standard: “If you spent anytime with Congressman King throughout the district over this past week you would know that he has been referencing all the ‘dirt’ the dishonest, leftist media have been using to attack him. The Weekly Standard has proven this with the completely false narrative they are pushing in this article.”

Then Congressman King got in on it, on Twitter.

He pressed:

And he pressed:

So they did.

On Friday and Saturday, Congressman King sent several tweets criticizing THE WEEKLY STANDARD, claiming we knowingly posted false information and suggesting we weren’t releasing the audio because it doesn’t exist. “You heard it directly from Jeff King and chose to defend your junk yard dog. You refused to release the tape,” he wrote. He later added: “Just release the full tape. Leftists lies exist without original sources because they are false and manufactured accusations. Weekly Standard is transitioning into ‘Antifa News.’”

King’s claims are false.

Here is the audio. The exchange, as transcribed, starts at about the 20-second mark. King is quoted accurately throughout.

And then there was even more.

So, King claimed our reporter lied. He didn’t. He claimed we didn’t have a recording. We do. He insisted we refused to release the audio. Untrue. It’s worth remembering these things as you evaluate the credibility of the claim from King—a man with a history of bigoted comments and a recent obsession with the “caravan” of immigrants traveling through Mexico to the United States—that he wasn’t talking about immigrants when he joked about “dirt” on its way to the U.S. from Mexico.

And even more, the author of the post, Adam Rubenstein, opted not to describe in his story his impression that King became “nervous” after realizing a reporter might have heard his “dirt” comment. Editor Stephen Hayes relates that decision, and the contemporary account of the moment, in his article rebuking King here.

A thorough bluff-call by the Weekly Standard, a typical fail by King.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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