GOP Congressman's Campaign Attacked Emma Gonzalez for Her 'Communist' Clothing at March for Our Lives

The Facebook page for a Republican congressman's campaign attacked Emma Gonzalez, a Cuban-American Parkland survivor who has become a poster child for the gun control movement, for wearing a Cuban flag patch on her jacket at Saturday's March for Our Lives demonstration.

Representative Steve King of Iowa mocked the 18-year-old for the patch on Sunday, one day after hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., and worldwide, to protest gun violence.

"This is how you look when you claim Cuban heritage yet don't speak Spanish and ignore the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp after removing all weapons from its citizens, hence their right to self defense," the @KingforCongress Facebook page wrote in a post that included a photo of Gonzalez on stage on Saturday, her eyes closed and a tear running down her cheek. Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, has emerged as one of the most recognizable faces advocating for gun control after a gunman killed 17 people there in February.

The post quickly gained the attention of other mass shooting survivors, like Brandon J. Wolf, who was at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, when a gunman armed with a high-powered military-style rifle, attacked. The Stoneman Douglas shooter also used a military-style weapon.


Posted by Steve King on Sunday, March 25, 2018

"Are you SERIOUSLY mocking a school shooting survivor for her ethnicity?!" Wolf wrote. "Do you losers have NOTHING else to do anymore? Have you lost the will to govern? Do you need a safe space from these teenagers?"

The page responded to Wolf's comment, doubling down. "Pointing out the irony of someone wearing the flag of a communist country while simultaneously calling for gun control isn't 'picking' on anyone. It's calling attention to the truth, but we understand that lefties find that offensive," the post read.

Newsweek's calls to King's office went unanswered Monday morning.

Gonzalez's father immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1968, according to Univision. She has not publicly shied away from much since the shooting, including her heritage.

In an essay published in Harper's Bazaar, Gonzalez wrote: "I'm 18 years old, Cuban and bisexual. I'm so indecisive that I can't pick a favorite color, and I'm allergic to 12 things. I draw, paint, crochet, sew, embroider—anything productive I can do with my hands while watching Netflix.

"But none of this matters anymore," she said. "What matters is that the majority of American people have become complacent in a senseless injustice that occurs all around them."

King wasn't the first to go after Gonzalez. A GIF posted Friday that originally showed the teen tearing a shooting target bull's-eye in half was doctored to appear that she was tearing up the U.S. Constitution.

King has long been a controversial figure and an immigration hard-liner. Last April, he tweeted a photo of a beer and toasted a border patrol for deporting a DACA recipient, part of the group known as the Dreamers.

First non-valedictorian DREAMer deported. Border Patrol, this one's for you.

— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) April 18, 2017

The day before the Parkland shooting, The Des Moines Register published an editorial calling on Iowan Republicans to vote King out in the 2018 primary.

"He makes outlandish statements that seem intended to generate controversy, knowing they will provide him with a larger platform from which he can spew even more of his incendiary observations," the paper stated. "Given King's longstanding record as one of the least effective members of Congress, the GOP should have no difficulty finding a more thoughtful and qualified individual to represent the people of Iowa's 4th District."

The King campaign's Facebook page promised the Republican wasn't going anywhere soon.

"Congressman King will win re-election in a landslide," read the post, which included a smiley-face emoji.