The Problem With Steve King’s Toilet Sink Water Claim

A video that Steve King put out of him drinking from a water fountain mounted on the back of a toilet bowl went viral Wednesday afternoon.

The video, which has been viewed more than two million times, was shot at a border detention facility in late July. He didn’t release the video until yesterday, stating, “I thought, you know, this subject just needs to go into the rear view mirror.”

King’s aim here was to debunk criticism that migrants were being treated poorly at border facilities, some of whom were forced to drink water from a toilet, by showing that the toilets had a connected sink. But there’s a rather simple problem with King’s antics: the original criticism wasn’t that there were no sinks, but that they didn’t work.

I actually went into that cell where it was reported that they were advised they had to drink out of the toilet,” King said. “I took a drink out of there. And actually pretty good! So, I have a videotape and I smacked by lips.”

Immigrants being forced to drink out of toilet seats became a national conversation after Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted July 1 about women at a CBP facility who were kept in their cells with no water and told to drink out of toilets.

Ocasio-Cortez said when she visited, the sink portion of the toilet was not functioning. When fellow Representative Ayanna Pressley tried to open the faucet “nothing came out,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a Tweet.

“So the women were told they could drink out of the bowl,” according to Ocasio-Cortez.

Still, King told his constituents in Eagle Grove Wednesday, “It’s not drinking out of the toilet.”

“It’s drinking out of the water fountain that’s integral with the back of the toilet,” King said.

In response to the video, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted yesterday that GOP House members “who clearly didn’t read sworn testimony that detention sinks were broken” are “so anti-immigrant they risk pink eye to show off that they didn’t do the reading.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s sworn testimony about her trip to the detention facility was filmed by CSPAN.

During the town hall in Eagle Grove, King said, “I think there was a little language barrier there. That’s how come we got that misinformation,” about the people in detention centers who were forced to drink out of a toilet. 

Speaking in Estherville Wednesday evening, King said, “I thought the way they were treating them was good and it was respectful and humane.”

He said he went into the warehouses during his visit.

“In the warehouses there, it’s full of all kinds of materials,” King said. “Thousands of toothbrushes and shampoo and hair conditioner and snacks of all kinds and diapers and everything you can think of that anybody might need is there in the warehouse.”

That comment came following a report from HuffPost that menstruating migrant girls are visibly bleeding through their pants while detained.


by Paige Godden
Posted 9/5/19

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