CHARTER OAK — The Democratic governor of Louisiana and a Republican congressional leader are criticizing Iowa Congressman Steve King for King’s remarks about hurricane victims in their state. King was in Charter Oak for a town hall meeting Thursday and compared victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to Iowans dealing with floodwaters now.

“We’re Iowans and I’m always proud of our reaction to this,” King said. “I’ve worked with the FEMA people for a long time…Here’s what FEMA tells me. We go to a place like New Orleans and everybody’s looking around saying: ‘Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help me?’…They’re just always gratified when they come and see how Iowans take care of each other, so that’s a point of pride that spreads across the country.”

Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, the second-ranking Republican in the House, represents the New Orleans suburbs. Scalise called King’s remarks “absurd and offensive and…a complete contradiction” to how the people of New Orleans responded to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, tweeted that King’s comments were “disgusting and disappointing.”

King tweeted yesterday that he’s “working to restore free speech to the halls of congress.”

During his remarks in Charter Oak yesterday, King said in 2005 he made four visits to New Orleans to tour the devastation.

“First member of congress to go in down there. We broke some rules go there, I’ll just confess to that” King said. “Flew into the airport and just keyed the mic and asked permission to land and they gave it to us and so we went in. I saw that from the air and from the ground and did what we could to help those folks down there.”

King toured flood damage in Missouri Valley and Hornick yesterday, promising to work closely with local leaders to help Iowans recover from this disaster. “As the Dean of Iowa’s House delegation, and its only Republican, I will not hesitate to use my influence with President Trump to help Iowans gain access to federal flood relief programs,” King said.