Congressman Steve King of Iowa, a controversial Republican lawmaker, is being criticized for a post attacking a Parkland shooting survivor that was shared on his campaign’s Facebook account.
The post shuns Emma Gonzalez, who has been one of the leading activists in the wake of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, and for wearing a Cuban flag patch on her jacket at last Saturday’s March for Our Lives protest.
“This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don’t speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence their right to self defense,” the post on King’s Facebook page reads.
The post includes an image of Gonzalez, who is Cuban-American, standing on stage at the D.C. protest with her eyes closed and tears streaming down her face. Gonzalez spoke for about 6 minutes and 20 seconds — the exact amount of time the Parkland shooting took to unfold — and included a lengthy moment of silence to honor the 17 people who lost their lives in the Feb. 14 shooting.
A Facebook user named John Kizilarmut commented on the post, saying the Congressman was “quite literally attacking a child in hopes of protecting guns.” Someone behind the account responded, “Nah, just pointing out the irony of someone wearing a communist flag while advocating for gun control.”
Comments continued to pile up on Monday afternoon — as many users expressed anger and frustration at Congressman King for criticizing a 17-year-old student.
“Pathetic. I don’t know how else to describe anyone who would attack an 18 year old who is exercising her 1st Amendment rights after suffering a tragic loss,” one Facebook user commented on the post.
“King you are a weak old fat coward. Making fun of a high school student who has every right to speak. You are a monster,” another wrote.
Some people defended the post, with one commenter writing, “Guess again fools!!!!! You have no say what we have rights to!!!”
Hundreds of thousands of people went to the March for Our Lives rally in D.C. — and in similar satellite marches across the country — in what may have been a historic turnout. Official crowd estimates have not been finalized yet, but organizers said at least 800,000 people marched in Washington, D.C.