Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King has a long history of spouting xenophobia and racist dog whistles, but things finally came to a head when he gave an interview to the New York Times and outright said that terms like “white nationalist” and white supremacist” shouldn’t be offensive.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in the Times piece. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
After years of tolerating his blatant racism, Republicans finally acknowledged that King went too far and almost unanimously passed a resolution condemning him. The only “no” vote came from Illinois Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush, an African-American, who said the resolution didn’t go far enough.
But as Kyle Mantyla of Right Wing Watch points out, there’s still strong support for King in certain conservative circles, namely the Religious Right and other far-right activists who signed a letter of support for King addressed to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), demanding that he issue an apology to King and reinstate the spots on the various committees King was removed from as punishment for his words.
The current signatories on the letter are Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, Christian activist Rick Scarborough, American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, Charisma Magazine founder Stephen Strang, anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, right-wing preacher Lance Wallnau, Christian activist Brian Camenker, gun rights activist Larry Pratt, Christian activist Scott Lively, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera, and many more.
“We are appalled that Republican leadership would choose to believe a liberal news organization famous for their bias over an outstanding member of Congress who has served the people of Iowa and the United States honorably and faithfully for 16 years,” the letter starts out.
If Congressman Steve King believed and stood by the outrageous misquote of the New York Times, then the actions taken against him would have been warranted, but the opposite is true.
Unlike North Korea, we in the United States are “innocent until proven guilty” and hold to the principles of Western Civilization, as Rep. King so admirably does. The foundational principle begins with the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” These are the principles to which Rep. King was referring and which he has championed for more than two decades of public service.
Don’t make the fatal mistake of turning the reins of the U.S. Congress over to the liberal media, allowing them to target, misquote, and falsely brand any member of Congress they wish to remove.
We call on you to do the right thing as Minority Leader: issue a public apology and reinstate Rep. King to his committee assignments. If we don’t stand with this good man against the media-manufactured assault today, none of us will be safe from it tomorrow.
The letter is nothing more than a complete whitewashing of King’s despicable history. Last fall, the Anti-Defamation League asked then-House Speaker Paul Ryan to censure King for his “disturbing series of involvements and statements … that are antisemitic and offensive not just to the Jewish community, but to all Americans.”
As CNN points out, two years ago King tweeted out his support for anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders, saying Wilders “understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
Given evangelicals’ overwhelming support for Trump despite his moral rot, it shouldn’t be surprising that many of their leaders are lining up behind a despicable racist bomb-thrower like Steve King.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr