Chris Cuomo Grills Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Who Refuses To Say If American Muslims Are Equal To Other Americans
Cuomo: "A Muslim-American, An Italian-American, German-American Like You And Your Blood, Your Roots. They Are Either All Equal Or They Are Not In Your Mind. What Is The Answer?"
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From the March 13 edition of CNN's New Day:
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CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): Alright you're entitled to your opinion about all these things, obviously. I just want to just go back at this one more time, just because it's that important. A Muslim-American, an Italian-American, a Christian-American, a Jewish-American, you do realize that they are all equal, right? They are all the same thing. We don't need babies from one of those groups more than we need them from other groups. Do you agree with that?
REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): Well, I would say that it depends on the attitude within those families.
CUOMO: Why do you pause on a question like that, Congressman? What do you mean? It doesn't depend on any definition. You're either an American or you're not.
KING: Because I want to give you an objective answer, Chris. It's not that simple. It's not that simple because --
CUOMO: Yeah, but you're either a Muslim-American, an Italian-American, an Irish, Scotch, German-American, which is what your roots are. Either those are all equal things or they are not. What is your answer?
KING: They contribute differently to our culture and civilization. There are moderate Muslims that are equal to, in all these categories that you've described --
CUOMO: I said a Muslim-American, people who have lived here, who are assimilated.
KING: There are others that are -- there are others, Chris, that are teaching hatred in their families. If they are assimilated, that's what we want. I think they can assimilate.
CUOMO: Yeah, but there are a lot of people teaching hatred in their families who are white, who are Irish, who are Italian, who are Muslim. A lot of people preach hate. There's hate in a lot of different groups. And I get that you have Muslim extremism, that there's a concern in this country about. But I asked you something else. These people are either all equal or they are not, in your view. A Muslim-American, an Italian-American, German-American, like you and your blood, your roots. They are either all equal or they are not, in your mind. What is the answer?
KING: I'd say they're all created in the image of God and they're equal in his eyes, and if they're citizens of the United States, they're equal in the eyes of the law. Individuals will contribute differently, not equally, to this civilization and society, and certain groups of people will do more from a productive side than other groups of people will. That's just a statistical fact. And so --
CUOMO: But it's not as a function of race. It's as a function of opportunity and education.
KING: I didn't say race.
CUOMO: You're not more likely as a Muslim-American to contribute to American society. It's about your education and your opportunity, not what your blood is.
KING: Chris, it's the culture. It's the culture, not the blood. And if you can go anywhere in the world and adopt these little babies and put them into households that were already assimilated into America, those babies will grow up as American as any other baby with as much patriotism and as much love of country as any other baby. It's not about race. It's never been about race, and in fact, the struggles across this planet, we describe them as race, they're not race. They're culture-based. It's a clash of cultures, not the race. Sometimes that race is used as an identifier.