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Rep. Steve King denies supporting white nationalism, supremacy after New York Times report

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Congressman Steve King from Iowa’s Fourth District denied meeting exclusively with members of an extremist group during a visit to Europe.
Des Moines Register

Rep. Steve King denied allegations that he supports white nationalism and white supremacy Thursday after a recent New York Times article tied the controversial Iowa Republican to further white nationalist rhetoric.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in an interview with the Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

King responded in a press release Thursday condemned white nationalist and supremacist ideologies.

“I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define,” King said. “Further, 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.”

King also said he still identifies as “an advocate for Western Civilization’s values” and a “Nationalist.”

King’s alleged ties to white nationalist groups have caused politicians and groups on both sides of the aisle to disavow King. The 4th District representative was rebuked by Iowa Jewish leaders, disavowed by Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, and abandoned by the National Republican Congressional Committee heading into the 2018 midterms.

After the election, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said: “I think that Steve King needs to make a decision if he wants to represent the people and the values of the 4th District or do something else.”

Reigniting the criticism, shortly before his close election: King met in Austria with members of the Freedom Party, a political organization founded by a former Nazi SS officer. He also sat for an interview with Unzensuriert, a Freedom Party-aligned publication, after a trip funded by a Holocaust memorial group in August.

King has said the group is made up of “respectable people” who fight against anti-Semitism.

More:

  • Steve King’s second GOP challenger: ‘I know I won’t embarrass the state’
  • Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King gets a GOP challenger, Iowa Sen. Randy Feenstra

King also praised Faith Goldy, a candidate for Toronto mayor, a far-right white nationalist, on Twitter in October.

The New York Times article tied President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and recent push for a border wall to King, who has advocated for similar policies — including a 12-foot wall on the U.S.-Mexico border — years before Trump was a name in politics.

“I market-tested (Trump’s) immigration policy for 14 years, and that ought to be worth something,” he told the Times.

King is facing increasing challenges in Iowa.

On Wednesday, state Sen. Randy Feenstra, the chair of the Senate’s powerful Ways and Means Committee, said he would run for the Republican nomination in King’s 4th Congressional District. Prominent Republicans — Reynolds, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and Iowa Republican Party chair Jeff Kaufmann — did not offer support for King after Feenstra’s announcement. 

“The last election was a wake-up call for it to be that close,” Reynolds told WHO-TV. “That indicates that it does open the door for other individuals to take a look at that.”

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“It doesn’t mean we stick our nose in the air in the world but it’s OK to puff our chest out a little bit. And I think (the Trump) administration is doing that,” U.S. Rep. Steve King said Feb. 23 after talking to constituents in Manson, Iowa.
William Petroski/The Register

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Despite a history of controversial rhetoric, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, has easily won re-election to Congress.
Jason Noble/The Register

King’s statement, in its entirety:

“Today, the New York Times is suggesting that I am an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy. I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define. Further, 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.

It’s true that like the Founding Fathers I am an advocate for Western Civilization’s values, and that I profoundly believe that America is the greatest tangible expression of these ideals the World has ever seen. Under any fair political definition, I am simply a Nationalist. America’s values are expressed in our founding documents, they are attainable by everyone and we take pride that people of all races, religions, and creeds from around the globe aspire to achieve them. I am dedicated to keeping America this way.

This conviction does not make me a white nationalist or a white supremacist. Once again, I reject those labels and the ideology that they define. As I told the New York Times, ‘it’s not about race; it’s never been about race.’ One of my most strongly held beliefs is that we are all created in God’s image and that human life is sacred in all its forms.”

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