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

Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — Google CEO gets grilling before Congress | Pressure builds for election security bill | Trump to target China over IP theft | Experts warn cyber criminals growing more brazen Google CEO responds to Steve King's iPhone concerns: 'Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company' Steve King asks Google CEO for names of employees to see if they're liberals MORE (R-Iowa) took to Twitter early Thursday with a controversial claim about Texas Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroThe Hill's Morning Report — Will Trump strike a deal with Chuck and Nancy? The Year Ahead: Pressure mounts on election security as 2020 approaches Joaquin Castro: Trump would be 'in court right now' if he weren't the president or 'privileged' 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 CruzDems attracted to O'Rourke because he demonstrates civility, says political analyst Gillum to speak at gathering of top Dem donors: report O'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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.