Rep. Steve King (R-IA) made the news yet again recently for the latest quote that he absolutely swears was taken out of context: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
Lest you think this was an isolated incident, be assured that King has a long and rich history of offensive, racist remarks. Paste first covered him in 2017, when he tweeted “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies” (earning him praise from the likes of Richard Spencer and David Duke), and added on national TV that, “we need to get our birth rates up or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half century or a little more.” This was already a year after he tweeted a photo of himself with a far-right Dutch leader, saying, “cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.” Next, he had the great idea to fund the border wall by gutting food stamps and Planned Parenthood, proving he hates poor people and women just as much as non-whites, and followed that up in 2018 by endorsing a white nationalist mayoral candidate in Toronto, spreading George Soros conspiracy theories, retweeting an avowed Hitler fan and then refusing to delete the retweet, and saying “liberty is suppressed by tyrants and leftists.”
When one of his constituents had the temerity to question him about his beliefs, he blew up:
During this time, it should be said, several Republican leaders, including Paul Ryan, denounced King's rhetoric. Nevertheless, he won re-election in November in his Iowa district, and as we saw last week, he continues to spout racialized rhetoric into the new year. In response to the latest outburst, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) has decided to introduce a House resolution to censure him:
“Republicans, in the interest of political expediency, sought his endorsement, ignored his racist remarks, and continued to elevate him to positions of influence,” Rush said in a longer statement. “Only now that his behavior is well known to those outside the beltway and tainted him politically, do they vigorously denounce him.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the ranking Republican member of the House, said on Monday that “action would be taken” against King, though it’s unclear if he’ll support Rush’s resolution. That said, it stands a better chance than most attempts at bipartisan cooperation in the House; along with McCarthy, many GOP leaders have taken King to task for his remarks, and the Republican governor of Iowa has already said she won’t support him in his next election. Additionally, one of only two African-American Republicans in Congress, Tim Scott, wrote a well-received op-ed in the Washington Post making the point that his party’s silence on matters like these fuels the belief that the party itself is racist.
For his part, Donald Trump simply withheld comment, saying, “I haven’t been following.”