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

Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingDemocrats lead in 3 of 4 Iowa House races: poll Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it MORE (R-Iowa) took to Twitter early Thursday with a controversial claim about Texas Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroFormer DNC finance chairman Henry Muñoz: Latinos 'need to lead ourselves' Overnight Defense: Trump says he's leaving Walter Reed, 'feeling really good' after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches House Democrats push forward on probe of Pompeo's political speeches 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 CruzHarris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden Cruz wants donors to repay K he loaned to his 2018 campaign Why Biden could actually win Texas 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.