Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wants to know why white nationalists and white supremacists are getting a bad rep.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization how did that language become offensive” King asked in an interview with The New York Times published on Thursday. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization”
The far-right lawmaker is at the forefront of supporting the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies and the push to end birthright citizenship. As a matter of fact, King credits himself with getting Trump onboard.
“Donald Trump came to Iowa as a real non-ideological candidate,” King said, in the Times interview. He said he told Trump, “I market-tested your immigration policy for 14 years, and that ought to be worth something.”
King has previously, on the House floor, shown a model of a 12-foot border wall he had designed.
Thursday afternoon he released a statement on Twitter “clarify” his comments on white supremacy and white nationalism.
“I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology” represented by those terms. “I am simply a Nationalist,” he wrote.
“I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives.” Like the Founding Fathers, he wrote, “I am an advocate for Western Civilization’s values.”
But let’s look at King’s track record.
In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, consumers and employees pushed back against companies donating to King’s campaign in November. He is known for his association with white nationalists, even retweeting a Nazi sympathizer.
(But residents of Iowa still re-elected him for another term.)
King endorsed, Faith Goldy, an openly white supremacist candidate for mayor of Toronto. He often praises far-right politicians and groups in other countries.
In September, during a European trip financed by From the Depths a Holocaust memorial group King actually met with members of a far-right Austrian party with historical ties to Nazis for an interview on their anti-Semitic propaganda website. The meeting was just a day after ending a five-day trip to Jewish and Holocaust historical sites in Poland, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
“In an interview with a website associated with the party, King declared that ‘Western civilization is on the decline,’ spoke of the replacement of white Europeans by immigrants and criticized Hungarian American financier George Soros, who has backed liberal groups around the world,” according to The Washington Post.
In December 2017, King shared a story on Twitter written by the Voice of Europe and quoted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbn, who said, “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”
King added to the tweet: “Diversity is not our strength.”
Members of Congress are condemning his recent comments.
“Everything about white supremacy and white nationalism goes against who we are as a nation,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-Calif.), said, in a statement. “Steve’s language is reckless, wrong, and has no place in our society. The Declaration of Independence states that ‘all men are created equal.’ That is a fact. It is self-evident.”
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted that King’s remarks are “abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse.”
“Dear Steve King (@SteveKingIA): FYI this is one reason you get bad search results when people type your name in Google,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), tweeted.