After longtime GOP Rep. Peter King announced that he would not seek reelection Monday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) took to Twitter to make it clear that she wasn’t exactly upset by the news.
King was first elected to the House in 1992, where he represented New York’s 3rd District. After the state was redistricted in 2012, King was elected as the representative for District 2. A New York Times piece on King’s departure describes him as a “seasoned moderate lawmaker”, but his political career will be defined by his history of racism and Islamophobia.
“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,” tweeted Omar, “Good riddance.”
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
In 2011, King held controversial hearings over the “radicalization” of American Muslims. That same year he appeared as a guest on Islamophobic conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney’s radio show, where he declared that Muslims weren’t sufficiently “American” during times of war. “Whether it’s cultural tradition, whatever, the fact is the Muslim community does not cooperate anywhere near to the extent that it should,” he told Gaffney. After Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, King defended Pantaleo’s actions and blamed Garner’s asthma and weight for what happened. After a grand jury decided not to indict the officer, King tweeted, “Thanks to SI grand jury for doing justice & not yielding to outside pressure. Decision must be respected. Compassion for the Garner family.” In 2018, King compared the National Anthem protests of some NFL players to Nazi salutes.
Disgraceful that @nyjets owner will pay fines for players who kneel for National Anthem. Encouraging a movement premised on lies vs. police. Would he support all player protests? Would he pay fines of players giving Nazi salutes or spew racism? It’s time to say goodbye to Jets!
— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) May 26, 2018
After Omar made a series of tweets criticizing the Israel Lobby in February, King attacked the Minnesota Rep and accused her of antisemitism. “No. 1, Israel is our main ally strategically,” King told Fox News at the time,”They are indispensable to our foreign policy in the Middle East. That’s No. 1. No. 2, it’s immoral to be suggesting that somehow members of Congress are being paid off by Jews, by AIPAC. That goes right into the anti-Semitic bias, which has plagued the world for too long.”
In contrast to Omar’s King tweet, Senate Minority Leader and New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer praised the retiring Representative. “Peter King stood head & shoulders above everyone else,” tweeted Schumer, “He’s been principled & never let others push him away from his principles. He’s fiercely loved America, Long Island, and his Irish heritage and left a lasting mark on all 3. I will miss him in Congress & value his friendship.”
Peter King stood head & shoulders above everyone else
He’s been principled & never let others push him away from his principles
He’s fiercely loved America, Long Island, and his Irish heritage and left a lasting mark on all 3
I will miss him in Congress & value his friendship https://t.co/GSXizZ2c5D
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 11, 2019
In 2017, King and Schumer both cosponsored bills that would criminalize the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.