Pushing back against charges that his brand of xenophobia is keeping the GOP from bringing immigration reform to the House floor, GOP Rep. Steve King attempted to prove he wasn't a reactionary loon by challenging Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer — a vocal proponent of immigration reform — to a "duel."
"If we're going to have some kind of a challenge of rhetoric bouncing back between the House and Senate, let's do it face to face," King said Thursday while on the House floor. "Let's do it eye-to-eye. Let's have that duel — not like Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton — but .... like real men do it today. Not dueling pistols at 50 paces; let's do this with microphones within arm's reach."
Seemingly believing xenophobia to be a kind of disease, King added that his idea for a "duel" (which the rest of us might call a "debate") would help lawmakers "get to the bottom of this and ... determine who actually had the xenophobia."
Schumer, along with other Democrats, had previously taken a rhetorical tact intended to portray Steve King as the face of GOP resistance to immigration reform and as a kind of xenophobic tail wagging the Republican Party dog.
During a press conference earlier in the day on Thursday, Schumer asked, "Where are the leaders in the Republican Party with the courage to stand up to Steve King and the far right and say, 'Enough is enough — we will not let our party be hijacked by extremists whose xenophobia causes them to prefer maintaining our broken immigration system over achieving a tough, fair and practical long-term solution?'''
In response to King's challenge, Schumer tweeted the following: