Not wanting the American people to make the connection between the border wall and white nationalism, the Republicans attempt to force racist Congressman Steve King, the wall’s biggest proponent, from the House

I guess we should just be happy that the Republicans have finally decided to turn on Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa. While we’re congratulating Republicans for doing the right thing, though, and joining Democrats to formally condemn King on the floor of the House for questioning whether the term “white nationalist” should be considered offensive, I think it’s probably worth noting that these same Republicans who joined Democrats in voting 424 to 1 to condemn white nationalism today, and praised House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy when he announced that King had been stripped of his committee assignments, the truth is that they should have done this several years ago.

It’s not exactly been a secret that King is a white nationalist. We knew it back in 2017, when he said that, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” much to the delight of white supremacists like David Duke. And we knew it this past summer when King was caught re-tweeting Nazi sympathizers. We knew it every time he talked about the need for a wall along the southern border, and the need for “an America that’s just so homogeneous that we look a lot the same.” But the Republicans always found it within themselves to look the other way, in large part, I suppose, because they knew, if they ever wanted to run for President, they’d need to do well in the Iowa primary, and they’d need King’s support. So, in spite of his well-documented history of racist statements, which date back to his time in the Iowa State Senate in 2002, they decided as a group to bot protect and enable him.

We knew King was a white nationalist prior to the 2016 election, when Republican Senator Ted Cruz named him the national co-chairman of his ill-fated presidential campaign. And we knew King was a white nationalist after the election, when Donald Trump invited him to the White House and bragged about how much money he’d helped him raise. [King responded to Donald Trump with a smile, saying, “I market-tested your immigration policy for 14 years.”]

But, yeah, it’s good to see that the Republicans actually have a limit, and that they won’t actually continue to defend one of their own when he says to a reporter, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Of course, it doesn’t really take all that much courage to stand up to King now, seeing as how no Republicans in Congress will likely be challenging Trump during the Iowa primary, and the Republican Party doesn’t really need him, as they’re pretty much guaranteed that another Republican will take his place if he’s forced out. No, at this point, King’s more of a liability than an asset… a constant reminder that this wall they’re all fighting for was the idea of an anti-immigrant white supremacist.

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20 Comments

  1. Posted January 15, 2019 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    King, for what it’s worth, says this most recent quote of his was taken out of context, and he’s calling today’s actions “an unprecedented assault on (his) freedom of speech.”

    From today’s New York Times:

    “There is no tape for this interview that I did… There is no way to go back and listen,” said the congressman, who conceded that he might have said the quoted words but challenged how they have been interpreted. “But I can tell you this: That ideology never shows up in my head. I don’t know how it could possibly come out of my mouth.”

  2. Anonymous
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    The Desmoines Register is calling for his removal from office.

    https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/editorials/2019/01/15/steve-king-should-resign-des-moines-register-iowas-sake-white-supremacy-nationalism-immigration/2581889002/

    Congressman Steve King should resign. He has lost even the potential to effectively represent his Iowa constituents because of his abhorrent comments about white nationalism and white supremacy.

    The move by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to strip King of his committee assignments leaves Iowa without a seat on the vital House Agriculture Committee, as well as judiciary. It also leaves King with far less opportunity to work for his constituents on critically important rural development issues.

    Not that King has seemed particularly interested in working for his district in recent years. Instead of holding town-hall meetings with his constituents, King spent many congressional breaks globe-trotting to Europe and hobnobbing with hard-right, nationalist leaders.These meetings apparently served to reinforce his own warped views of cultural purity and immigration.

    King has often made Iowa a laughing stock on the national stage with his offensive and absurd remarks about undocumented immigrants, comparing them to dogs or disparaging them as drug mules with calves the size of cantaloupes.

    But it wasn’t until a few weeks before the November election that top national Republicans and corporate donors started to abandon King. That was just after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. It also was just after it had been revealed that King spent time on a trip funded by a Holocaust memorial organization to meet with a far-right Austrian group associated with neo-Nazis. Meanwhile, King had been under fire for tweeting his support for a Toronto mayoral candidate known for white nationalist views.

    We don’t make the argument that King should resign lightly, or based on partisan preferences. He was duly re-elected to a ninth term in November by voters who had every opportunity to recognize the Kiron Republican’s caustic, racially charged ideology related to immigration. King opened the new year by seeming to recognize a need to spend more time in Iowa: He announced a town-hall meeting in each of his district’s 39 counties.

    But then, apparently in an effort to claim credit for President Trump’s border-wall plans, he gave the New York Times what should be a career-ending quote: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said to the Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

    He has since tried to walk back the comments, claiming the quote was taken out of context and denouncing white nationalism and white supremacy. But to no avail: National Republicans and even staunch GOP supporters in Iowa — Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Gov. Kim Reynolds — have expressed disgust at his original remarks.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said if King doesn’t understand why “white supremacy” was offensive, he should “find another line of work.” We agree. He may as well mail a cardboard cutout of himself to Washington for all he’ll be able to accomplish if no one is willing to work with him.

    Some may argue that 4th District voters are getting what they deserve. But the entire state needs a healthy rural economy, including in King’s district, to grow and thrive. President Trump’s tariffs are a drag on farmers already buffeted by five years of low commodity prices. Iowa needs all of its delegation members working together to push for policies that will help.

    Two Republicans, state Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull and businessman Bret Richards of Irwin, have said they plan to run in the GOP primary. A third GOP candidate is likely to announce plans soon. But that would leave a quarter of Iowa’s population without effective representation for two years. If King steps aside, it would be up to Governor Reynolds to schedule a special election for the seat.

    We don’t expect King to listen to us. But maybe he would listen to Grassley, Ernst, Reynolds and Republicans in his district. They should encourage him to step aside for the good of the Republican Party and, more importantly, for the good of Iowa.

  3. iRobert
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m here trying to imagine anything in this world that Steve King could rightfully imagine himself “supreme” over. It’s laughable. The sort of people that use the term “supremacist” are always so embarrassingly inferior in so many ways. Someone might want to tell these folks to switch to the word “separatist” instead. It’s less likely to draw immediate attention to their glaringly inferior characteristics.

    If you ever meet a so-called “white nationalist,” ask him if he’s sent his blood sample in to “23 and me” yet. If he hasn’t, encourage him to soon. You’ll be saving him a lot of embarrassment.

  4. iRobert
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    I mean, has Steve King ever looked in a mirror?

    Uh…not the ideal.

    The guy looks like a 1922 German Nosferatu.

  5. iRobert
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    What are those genetics supposedly superior to?

    …a 1921 German Nosferatu.

    I’m saying the guy is ugly.

  6. iRobert
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    I mean, is all this talk of genetic supremacy effective when it’s coming out of the face of a sewer rat?

    And the guy is stupid. I mean, the US Congress has never been known for its intellect. And since Steve King’s been in, its been at its lowest in its long history in that sense. Still, somehow, in the middle of what is likely one of the dumbest Congresses, this guy manages to set himself apart by making statement so dumb even his colleagues realize they are. How is this not a demonstration of extraordinary genetic inferiority.

  7. Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    From someone with those looks, I don’t expect to hear talk of genetic “superiority” but rather a scratchy voice obsessing over a ring it calls its “precious!”

  8. iRobert
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The voters in Iowa’s 4th district thought they were electing writer Stephen King , not one of the grotesque monsters from his horror novels.

  9. Kim
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Brit Hume on Fox News says what King said does not amount to racism.

    https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2019/01/15/fox-news-brit-hume-defends-rep-steve-king-bogus-claims-racism/222538

  10. M
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Another interesting thing to note.

    Media Matters: Rep. Rashida Tlaib cursing (saying “Impeach the motherfucker” about Trump) got 5 times more coverage on cable news than Rep. Steve King embracing white supremacy

    https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2019/01/11/rep-rashida-tlaib-cursing-got-5-times-more-coverage-cable-news-rep-steve-king-embracing-white/222504

  11. Dan Rather by proxy
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    The GOP’s recent denunciations of Rep. Steve King’s comments stand in stark contrast to the silence over similar sentiments from Pres. Trump. I would offer, however, that it is best not to grade racism on a curve.

  12. dave morris
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    A few weeks ago, I watched “A Class Divided” on Frontline. It is about a school teacher who performed a very daring experiment in 1968 in her third grade classroom. It was the assassination of Martin Luther King that motivated her to do this. She divided the (entirely white ) class up by the color of the kids eyes and told them that blue eye people are better than brown eye people the first day, and switched it the next day. The results are both terrifying and eye opening.

    This experiment was done in Iowa, not far from Steve King’s district.

    Watching the kids return nearly 20 years later to talk about the experience had me thinking about yet another division that is not based on the color of our skin or eyes, but one of rural vs. urban and all the assumptions urban people make about rural, agrarian people… myself included.

    https://www.pbs.org/video/frontline-class-divided/

    It is an hour well spent.

  13. Dan Pfeiffer by proxy
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Kevin McCarthy was wrestling so deeply with Steve King’s long record of racism that his PAC gave King $10,000 last year to reelect the White Nationalist to Congress.

    https://twitter.com/danpfeiffer/status/1085629178874015744

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    It’s funny how people assume country people are more racist than city people. I’ve never seen any evidence of that. It’s based on the assumption that the GOP are more racist than Dems. But history tells us the Dems too will tolerate racism in their ranks and will play to racism to win elections.
    I guess if you are only going to define racism and white supremacy as open expressions of such, well then the GOP may have some edge over Dems lately (and only lately). If you however included systemic white supremacy, we all have our piece. And if you include not really giving a shit about inequity except when using it to demonize member of the opposition, well we just need to look around us. Most Black citizens moved to Dem cities long ago now. How’s that working out for them? Have they experienced a sudden burst of social advancement? Are they now on par with other ethnicities in wealth and income? in health care access? in access to education? within the judicial system? Nope,

    This idea that racism in our country is the fault of open racists is wrong. It’s super convenient to judge them morally in order to avoid looking at our own responsibility.

    Steve King should never have been elected, but he’s also not the problem. He’s convenient for those of us uninterested in looking at the problem closer to our own doorstep.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    How can you say that cities and rural areas are equally racist when cities elect people like AOC and rural areas elect people like Steve King, Jean? Look at the representatives elected by both parties in 2018. How many non-white Republicans do you see, Jean?

  16. John Brown
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    All Nazis must die! Don’t fucking tread on me….

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    I should have said white people in cities and in rural areas are both racist (I didn’t say equally). The Dems finally got around to putting forward some candidates of color this time around. Why did it take the Dem party so long? How much support did they actually give candidates like AOC? It took the Democratic party a fuck of a long time to honor their most loyal voters (POC and women) with some damned candidates. Waaaayyy too late. The midterms were a small step in the right direction. Maybe someday we will earn the right to pride about how anti-racist Dems are. But we have excruciatingly little to hang that pride on right now. If Dems were not racist than we wouldn’t need representation by POC; their interests would have been adequately represented in Dem cities before.

    It’s painful to hear Dems point up racism with outrage while being unwilling to look at our own utter failure to address it in the most basic ways in the places we control. I’m talking about right here in this county. I’ve heard plenty of white supremacist thinking in this area. All those high achieving people think they earned their status because they were smarter and worked harder than others. That’s white supremacist thinking. So is wanting to limit growth and so gate out the poor and push out POC– which they do under behind the shield of anti-capitalist rhetoric. Look at the education and suspension gaps. The incaceration rate locally. Look at the fine escalations for POC. Talk to anyone who works at local hospitals about the quality of care and outcome differentials.
    Racism and white supremacist thinking and beliefs are not exclusive o those who express them outright.

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    I have a friend who is Asian who was thrilled when he moved to Wyoming to get away from the tokenism etc being foisted on him in Ann Arbor. In Wyoming, they ignored his ethnicity entirely, which was a tremendous relief. No one gave him any trouble or had expectations about him related to his ethnicity. These are people just about as rural as you can get and mostly Republican too, My friend doesn’t share their politics but neither would he give this area a pass on its own brand of racism.

  19. iRobert
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Nobody here on MM.com needs to be convinced of the racism on the left. We’ve all made attempts to make you acknowledge yours, Jean.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted January 20, 2019 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/04/28/the-most-racist-places-in-america-according-to-google/

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