The representative of New York's 2nd congressional district had harsh words for fellow Irish American Steve Bannon.
Congressman Peter King has never shied away from a good political scrap.
And he’s not shying away today.
Republican King, one of Irish America’s leading political figures for more than three decades, let loose with his acerbic tongue after yesterday’s shock win by Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama special Senate election.
His target? Not Jones. Not even the defeated Roy Moore, but Steve Bannon, another Irish American who revels in a good political scrap.
King, reported CNN, said it was time to shun Republican strategist Bannon, calling him a "disheveled drunk who wandered in off the street" and who was a drain on the GOP.
After Alabama disaster GOP must do right thing and DUMP Steve Bannon. His act is tired, inane and morally vacuous. If we are to Make America Great Again for all Americans, Bannon must go! And go NOW!!— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) December 13, 2017
Prior to this, and after the Alabama result came in, King had tweeted: “After Alabama disaster GOP must do right thing and DUMP Steve Bannon. His act is tired, inane and morally vacuous. If we are to Make America Great Again for all Americans, Bannon must go! And go NOW!!”
Bannon, earlier this year, took heat from Irish Americans over a CBS “60 Minutes” interview in which he accused the Catholic Church of only being interested in undocumented and illegal immigrants, and the so-called DACA (Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals) “Dreamers” because they filled pews and helped church finances.
That assertion prompted a ferocious and combined rebuttal from New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Fr. Sean McManus of the Irish National Caucus.
Congressman King’s assault is an internal Republican Party one, but carries a wider political message as it is certain to prompt favorable response from voters in his Long-Island bailiwick, New York’s Second House District.
King, over the course of a now thirteen-term House career, has been consistently able to draw voting support from Democrats and Independents as well as Republicans.
And it would have been with that broad base in mind that he recently joined a dozen other House GOP members in opposing the House tax reform bill.
King’s expressed concern in this instance was the proposed elimination of “SALT,” state and local tax breaks the ending of which would be a significant blow to Second District voters in high tax New York.
The attack on Bannon is less King the legislative tactician and more King the political brawler.
King has long benefited from his lack of verbal reserve, this coupled with another significant factor: he is a Republican legislator in a Blue State whose district nestles up against New York City, the nation’s media capital.
Having a go at Bannon will do no harm with his core Republican base and will doubtless draw nods of approval from Second District Democrats and Independents who will get to vote again for their member of Congress less than a year from now.
Was Pete King correct in his criticism of Steve Bannon? What are your thoughts on Trump's former Chief Strategist?
*Originally published in the Irish Echo. You can read more from them here.