Steve King panned by GOP leadership, Jewish groups
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) came under fire from his fellow Republicans and Jewish groups for defending white supremacists in an interview with the New York Times on Thursday. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” asked King.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House GOP Conference leader Liz Cheney (R-WY) called out the nine-term Congressman, who has a history of bigoted comments targeting a variety of minorities and has faced criticism for his association with far-right parties in Europe.
King’s “language is reckless, wrong, and has no place in our society,” McCarthy said in a statement. The comments “are abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse.” Cheney added on Twitter.
Democratic Freshman Max Rose (D-NY) told Jewish Insider, “Steve King is a disgrace to Congress and this country. I’d like to see him come to Staten Island and South Brooklyn and say this.”
Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), issued a sharp response to King, telling Jewish Insider: “We have been highly critical of Cong. Steve King in the past and have refused to support him. Once again we are appalled and disgusted by his views and comments. He doesn’t represent the values of the RJC or the Republican Party. I’m thrilled so many leaders in Congress have spoken up and spoken out against him.”
Rep. King responded to accusations that he’s a white supremacist by denying that the label fits his views. “I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives,” King posted in a photo on Twitter. “I am simply a Nationalist,” King later wrote.
“I am deeply saddened and disheartened by Rep. King’s comments,” Rep. Harley Rouda (D-CA) said in a statement to Jewish Insider. “There should be no room for racism and hatred in today’s world, or in our hearts. There’s a famous colloquialism: if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck—then it probably is a duck. It is unfortunate but clear who Rep. King is, and what he stands for.”
As of publication, King had not yet responded to a request for comment for this article.