Steve King Was Saying Insanely Racist Things Long Before Republicans Decided Enough Was Enough
Iowa Rep. Steve King’s openly racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric has finally caught up with him. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution to condemn the congressman, with a final vote of 424 to 1. The vote came just a day after Republican leadership removed him from his assignments on the judiciary and agricultural committees. The moves were in response to remarks he made recently to the the New York Times questioning why terms like “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” should be considered offensive.
While this finally seems to be the opening for widespread Republican censure of King, his recent comments are far from the only or even the most offensive things he’s said when it comes to race and immigration. (What’s more, he is also one of the original proponents of the kind of wall at the center of President Donald Trump’s government shutdown.) Still, almost all of King’s peers have tolerated his behavior until now—notably, the shift comes just a few months after the party was devastated in the midterms.
As my colleague Sophie Murguia wrote this fall, here are a few of the outrageous and offensive things the nine-term congressman has said and done with little consequence:
Met with the Austrian far-right party while on a Holocaust memorial trip: The Washington Post revealed in late October, as King was in the closing stretch of a perhaps too-close-for-comfort reelection race, that he met with members of an Austrian far-right party during a trip paid for by a Holocaust memorial group. King had been on a five-day trip to Poland funded by a group that educates people about the Holocaust, before he visited Vienna and gave an interview to Unzensuriert, a website associated with Austria’s Freedom Party. The party was founded by a former Nazi SS officer, though it has since rejected its Nazi ties. Still, the interview echoed white nationalist ideas, including the racist “Great Replacement” theory, which King appeared to partially blame on George Soros, who is a frequent target of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Endorsed a white nationalist for Toronto mayor: In October, King tweeted an endorsement of Faith Goldy, a Toronto mayoral candidate who has suggested that Canada is undergoing “white genocide” and repeated a white supremacist slogan on a podcast. Goldy was fired from her job at the Rebel, a far-right news site, after appearing on a podcast hosted by the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer. King described Goldy, who ended up losing the election, as “an excellent candidate,” saying she was “Pro Western Civilization and a fighter for our values.”
Faith Goldy, an excellent candidate for Toronto mayor, pro Rule of Law, pro Make Canada Safe Again, pro balanced budget, &…BEST of all, Pro Western Civilization and a fighter for our values. @FaithGoldy will not be silenced. https://t.co/uqkeaUjm7i
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) October 17, 2018
Said he didn’t want Muslims working at meatpacking plants: Last year, King told Breitbart Radio that he didn’t want Somali Muslims preparing pork at the meatpacking plants in his district. King claimed that Somali Muslims wanted to send people to hell for eating the meat: “So as long as they’re preparing this pork for infidels, it helps send ’em to hell and it’ll make Allah happy,” King said. “I don’t want people doing my pork that won’t eat it, let alone hope I’ll go to hell for eating pork chops.”
Retweeted a Nazi sympathizer: Last June, King retweeted a post from self-described “Nazi sympathizer” Mark Collett, who was featured in a documentary called Young, Nazi and Proud. The tweet was a screenshot of a Breitbart article that claimed the majority of young Italians “oppose mass migration.” “Europe is waking up…Will America…in time?” King wrote. The congressman later said he hadn’t known about Collett’s political views, but he refused to delete the tweet. It wasn’t the only time King had come under fire for retweeting white nationalists: A few months later, he shared a tweet from an “identitarian” radio personality with nativist views.
Europe is waking up…Will America…in time? https://t.co/GqZ3E1lCyh
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) June 12, 2018
Praised far-right politicians: Over the past two years, King repeatedly has praised far-right leaders in Europe. In a 2017 tweet, he lauded the anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders: “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,” he wrote. “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” The year before, he tweeted a photo of himself with Wilders and far-right German politician Frauke Petry, writing, “Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.” He’s also echoed comments made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, tweeting, “Diversity is not our strength.”
Diversity is not our strength. Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.” https://t.co/ZlMXzcc87w
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) December 8, 2017
Predicted “Hispanics and blacks will be fighting each other”: In a 2017 radio interview, King responded to a comment made by news anchor Jorge Ramos that the United States would soon be majority-minority. “He’s adding up Hispanics and blacks into what he predicts will be in greater numbers than whites in America,” King said. “I predict that Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before that happens.”
Questioned the contributions of nonwhite “subgroups”: On an MSNBC panel during the 2016 Republican convention, King suggested that nonwhite “subgroups” hadn’t contributed to the world as much as white people. After another panelist said the convention was full of “dissatisfied white people,” King responded: “This whole ‘white people’ business, though, does get a little tired, Charlie. I mean, I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute to civilization?” King then tried to soften his comments slightly by saying he was referring to “Western civilization.” He later told ABC News he’d meant that contributions by “Americans of all races stand far above the rest of the world” but stood by the claim that Western civilization was a “superior culture.”
Displayed a Confederate flag on his desk: In 2016, an Iowa TV station filmed King with a Confederate flag on his desk, an image that drew criticism from other Republican state officials. King, who once defended displays of the Confederate flag in a speech to the House, said he later took the flag down.
Claimed Dreamers have “calves the size of cantaloupes”: One of King’s most infamous comments came back in 2013 when he railed against Dreamers in an interview with conservative website Newsmax. “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King said.
Said terrorists would celebrate former President Barack Obama: During the 2008 presidential campaign, King said terrorists would be “dancing in the streets” if Obama won because his middle name is Hussein. “I don’t want to disparage anyone because of their race, their ethnicity, their name, whatever religion their father may have been,” he told an Iowa radio station. “I’ll just say this: When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected president of the United States—I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam?”