DES MOINES, Iowa – US Sen. Chuck Grassley praised the work ethic of Korean American judges during Wednesday’s Senate verification hearing, congratulating “you and your people.”
“What you said about your Korean background reminded me of my father-in-law of 45 years: ‘If I have learned anything from the Korean people, it’s that hard work, and how you can do a lot of nothing,'” he said. “So I congratulate you and your people.”
Judge Lucy Koh, who nominated President Joe Biden to a federal appeals court, spoke at the hearing about his Korean immigrant family and called his Korean mother a “hero.”
Grassley has been quick to criticize Asian Americans for playing stereotypes that portray him as a “model minority”, with Asian Americans more successful than other minority groups because they work harder. This idea not only undermines the real barriers that many Asian Americans face, but can also be used to justify discrimination against black, Latino, and other minority groups.
Among those who criticized Grassley were Rep. Greg, a Democrat in California and president of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Judy Chu was there too.
“As a compliment, the definition of prejudice is to assign any trait to the entire community,” Posted on Twitter. “Treating all members of one group in the same way invites abuse. It is not the same kind of violence that is seen in other insults, but is harmful.”
Grassley’s office issued a statement following his comments.
“Sen. Grassley’s intent was to congratulate, not insult anyone,” Grassley spokesman Taylor Foy said in a statement to the Des Moines Register. “President Durbin invited Judge Koh to share the inspirational story of his family’s immigration to the United States. Sen. Grassley shared that he was inspired by his aunt’s immigration story. He is also a Korean-American.”
Grassley, 88, announced last month he would seek an eighth term in the U.S. Senate, officially launching a new election campaign.
Abby Finkenhauer, the former US Representative, is an outstanding Democrat who has campaigned against him.
In an early test of the race, the September Des Moines Register / MediaCom Iowa poll showed that Grassley was leading by 55% to 37% of potential voters. Another 7% are unsure who they will vote for in a head-to-head matchup and 1% will not vote.
More:Iowa Poll: Chuck Grassley Leads Abby Finkenauer in Examination of Potential US Senate Match
The chief political correspondent of the register is Brianne Pfanensteel. Contact her at email@example.com or 515-284-8244. Follow her on Twitter at @brianneDMR.