DES MOINES, Iowa – A man accused of throwing water on Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, while he was eating lunch has been arrested, police say.
Blake Gibbins, 26, was arrested Friday at the Mineral City Mill and Grill in Fort Dodge, Iowa, according to a statement from the city’s police department. The Lafayette, Colorado, man was charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct, both simple misdemeanors.
Gibbins allegedly approached King and the group he was with while they were eating about 12:30 p.m. Friday, police say. He asked King who he was, the Republican replied, and Gibbins threw a glass of water on him, hitting some of the people King was sitting with as well, according to police.
Police believe King was targeted because of his role as a congressman. Gibbins did not know King was going to be at the restaurant, police say, and was in Iowa visiting family.
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A call to King’s office for comment was not immediately returned.
The Republican has been in Congress since 2003. A recent statement in which he questioned why phrases like “white supremacy” were offensive caused House Republicans to condemn him in a near-unanimous resolution passed in January. House Republican leaders also removed him from his committee assignments.
King made the comments in an interview with the New York Times.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization – how did that language become offensive?” King said in the Times interview. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
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King voted for the resolution condemning himself, saying his comments had not come across as intended.
Contributing: Sean Rossman, USA TODAY.
Follow the Des Moines Register’s Tyler Davis on Twitter @TDavisDMR.