A Republican congressman went on MSNBC to discuss the “fractured GOP” and float some ideas on how to reach out to voters who have been turned off by the Republican Party’s toxic messages lately and wound up doing the exact opposite.
As if to prove the Republican Party is not the party for everybody, Rep. Peter King (NY) decided this would be a great time to try out some racial slurs. Describing a hypothetical person “at the end of a bar,” King asks why America should pay for “the Japs” – a derogatory term that has been considered deeply offensive for longer than King has been alive. His point, as he tells it, was to channel people who “needlessly offend.” And if needlessly offending was the goal, he did a stellar job.
The flippant remark caught the attention of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, who called on King to apologize. King, like any good Republican, said three predictable things in a very predictable order:
- He wouldn’t apologize.
- He’d say it again.
- Liberals are to blame.
In a phone interview with The Hill, King said he would “stand by the merits” of his comments and to prove it, used the term again. Later, he added that the outrage is another example of how our society has gotten too “PC.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) sees it differently:
Mr. King knows his words have an impact. Using the J word is disgusting and harkens back to a shameful time in our history when violence, xenophobia, and the internment of Japanese Americans were everyday phenomena.
As does the Asian American Legal Defense Fund:
— AsianAmericanLegal (@aaldef) May 13, 2016
And it’s not just Rep. King. Japanese Americans have a lot to be weary of in the Republican Party. Not only is the GOP’s presidential nominee actively drawing inspiration from America’s internment of Japanese Americans during World War II to address what he refers to as the “problem” with Muslims, but polling suggests that a disturbing number of Trump supporters actually think Japanese internment was a good idea. (In fairness, many of them also believe the abolition of slavery was a bummer.)
It’s for these reasons and more that victims of America’s shameful internment of Japanese Americans have forcefully come out against Trump’s vitriolic ideas. Actor and activist George Takei spent his childhood in one such camp, and he has wasted no time in reminding Trump and his Republican supporters of how barbaric that idea truly is and was.
You said [interning Japanese Americans] was a ‘tough’ thing and you would have had to be there. Well, Mr. Trump, I was there.
The Republican Party sure seems to be trying its hardest to alienate quite literally every group of voters in the country who don’t identify as scared white men. How to “repair a fractured GOP,” indeed.
Featured image via MSNBC