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

Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingDem pollster says most lawmakers lack tech policy knowledge Congress missed chance to address data security during Google hearing, says Dem strategist Hillicon 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 MORE (R-Iowa) took to Twitter early Thursday with a controversial claim about Texas Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroDem: CBP chief knew of migrant girl’s death before testimony but failed to mention it Dems demand probe into death of 7-year-old in DHS custody DeGette dropped from chief deputy whip spot 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 CruzBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Biden team discussed 2020 run with O'Rourke as VP: report 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. 

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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.