Not-so-breaking-news: Steve King is a racist. He just happened to say the inside part more out loud this time:
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Mr. King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
It's possible King is too dense to realize the problem with such statements. This is the guy who had to be corrected by the CEO of Google in the middle of a Grampa Simpson-like routine, in which the confused questions King was posing were related to an iPhone, not Google or its products.
But, King's record on race is pretty clear:
Steve King has said and done a lot of indecent things. In October, he endorsed Faith Goldy, a white nationalist running for mayor of Toronto. Both King and Goldy have publicly embraced the “great replacement” theory, which posits a coordinated global conspiracy to repopulate countries with immigrants. Usually it’s the Jews who are blamed for this—there were chants of “Jews will not replace us” during the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. And in August, while on a foundation-funded trip to visit Holocaust sites in Poland, King took a side trip to Austria to have dinner with members of the far-right Freedom party, which has historical ties to the Nazis. He gave an interview to the party’s website where he decried George Soros’s influence on U.S. elections, attacked immigration, and declared that “Western civilization is in decline.”
He used to display a Confederate flag in his office on the Hill and has said of Hispanic immigrants to the United States, that “for every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
And when called out on such things, King declared the Weekly Standard a liar and dared them to post audio of an incident on the trail where he referred to immigrants from Central America as "dirt" as he claimed he was innocent. They posted the audio.
While the NRCC condemned King's comments and declined to support him as the 2018 midterm campaigns wound down (and King faced an unexpectedly close race in his normally safe seat), it's time for action in DC. No party can stop voters from sending who they want to the nation's Capitol, but that doesn't mean any party has to welcome them.
It's not as if this is new. King has a long history of showcasing he doesn't like people who aren't white (see extended coverage here and here). He's just becoming more obvious about it, in part because of the visibility and transparency of Twitter, as well as these recent deplorable comments to the New York Times.
There is no easier time for the GOP to act than when in the minority. They don't need King's vote to secure a majority in committee or for floor votes. He's an albatross around the neck of the image many Republicans would like to portray to the country, especially in the wake of 2018 losses.
Democrat Andrew Gillum may have lost the race for Governor in Florida but he did have the line of the campaign season when discussing how issues of race were coming up in the contest: "Now, I'm not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist, I'm simply saying the racists believe he's a racist."
One of the problems Republicans face in the Age of Trump is the racists think Trump is racist. And the midterms showed just how well it goes when the GOP can't escape the shadow of the President and his Twitter account. Keeping guys like Steve King around who are skipping right past the "racists think" part and saying the racist things out loud is political poison.
And morally wrong.
The libertarians, and now defunct conservative publications, shouldn't have all the fun here though. It's time for the mainstream of the Republican Party to speak up and expel him from the GOP Caucus. He should be shunned.
The full House could censure him I suppose. He deserves it. The House could expel him, but that's usually reserved for criminal behavior, not just being a repellent jackass.
Conservatives of good conscience can also give to King's recently announced primary opponent for 2020, who seems like a good fit for the conservative district King represents....without being a noxious racist. Ben Shapiro just maxed out to the challenger. I'm going to donate as well.
In the meantime, here's hoping Republicans in DC start dealing with King and his harmful idiocy more directly and decisively.