Steve King: Julian and Joaquin Castro learned Spanish to ‘qualify as retroactive Hispanics’
© Greg Nash

Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingOcasio-Cortez calls out Steve King, Liz Cheney amid controversy over concentration camp remarks Biden called Booker to ease tensions after remarks about working with segregationists: report Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R-Iowa) took to Twitter early Thursday with a controversial claim about Texas Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck Hispanic Caucus seeks to retain voice in House leadership Joaquin Castro calls out MSNBC contributor for confusing him with twin brother Julián on air MORE (D) and his brother, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro.

King said the two brothers, who are second-generation Mexican-Americans, took “Spanish lessons to qualify as retroactive Hispanics.”

The GOP lawmaker’s remark came in response to a tweet criticizing Rep. Beto O’ Rourke (D-Texas) for changing his name from Robert Francis O’Rourke. The person who posted the tweet said it as “another example of just how Democrats get when the actual Latino in the race (Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Hickenlooper, Bennet bring deep ties to 2020 debate stage 2020 Democrat Bennet releases comprehensive government reform plan GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE) stands against everything they stand for.” 

The Castro brothers will reportedly join O'Rourke at stops along the Texas border as he seeks to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the Texas Senate race. 

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Julián Castro will also be joining former professional baseball player J.D. Scholten at two events in Iowa this weekend. Scholten is vying to unseat King in Iowa's 4th Congressional District in November's midterm election, Scholten's campaign confirmed to The Hill.

King has a history of making of making controversial claims on social media.

Late last year, King received widespread criticism for saying diversity is not America's strength.

Earlier this summer, King also prompted backlash for retweeting a message from Mark Collett, the former chairman of the youth division of the British National Party (BNP).

At the time, he said his retweeting of the prominent far-right British activist who has described himself as a "Nazi sympathizer” was “unintentional,” but wouldn’t say he was sorry for sharing the tweet.

-- Updated 6:20 p.m.