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

Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingGOP brawls over Trump on eve of first Jan. 6 hearing Pence to visit Iowa to headline event for congressman Former Steve King challenger on rural voters in GOP states: 'They hate Democrats' MORE (R-Iowa) took to Twitter early Thursday with a controversial claim about Texas Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroHouse Democrats reintroduce bill addressing diversity at State Department Julian Castro joins NBC and MSNBC as political analyst Exclusive: Democrat García will not back reconciliation without immigration 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 CruzTrio of Senate Republicans urges Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia next week 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.