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GOP Mostly Silent, While Iowa’s Largest Newspaper Calls for Republicans to Oppose His Re-Election
Despite Steve King’s openly white nationalist comments, the vast majority of Republicans are content to ignore King’s comments or issue mealy-mouthed statements that show no backbone (looking at you, Speaker Ryan.)
In an interview with Fox News, Speaker Ryan stated: “I’d like to think that he misspoke and it wasn’t really meant the way that that sounds, and hopefully he’s clarified that.”
After Ryan opened the door for a King walk-back, King went on Fox News to clarify his statements for the Speaker of the House: “I did not misspeak at all. I said exactly what I meant.”
By their silence, interrupted by only the most muted of criticisms, Republicans are aiding and abetting King and his white nationalist views. In stark contrast, the largest newspaper in Iowa, the Des Moines Register, editorialized that Republicans should not only speak out against King’s comments but should also opposed his reelection.
If Steve King was your average, garden-variety bigot and was standing on a street corner while spouting his nonsense to passersby, he’d be easy to ignore. Everyone could dismiss his rants as undeserving of their attention and get on with their day.
Unfortunately, King has a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s a federal lawmaker. He’s on the public payroll. When he speaks, he represents — literally and figuratively — the people of Iowa.
If King’s world view truly doesn’t match that of the Republican Party, then party leaders at both the state and national level need to stand together in supporting an opposing candidate in the 2018 Republican primary. Given King’s longstanding record as one of the least effective members of Congress, the GOP should have no difficulty finding a more thoughtful and qualified individual to represent the people of Iowa’s 4th District.
The only question is whether these party leaders have the courage of their alleged convictions.
Below, we highlight additional analyses from Eugene Robinson and Gabe Ortiz, both of whom take the GOP to task for allowing white nationalism to flourish in the heart of the today’s Republican Party.
In the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson gets to the heart of the issue:
King’s distress about birthrates can be read only as modern-day eugenics. If he is worried about the coming day when there is no white majority in the United States, he has remarkably little faith in our remarkable society — or in the Constitution that he, as a member of Congress, is sworn to support and defend. President Trump played footsie with the white supremacist movement during his campaign. His chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, waged civilizational war when he ran the Breitbart News site. Trump could definitively denounce King’s racism with a statement or a tweet, but so far his silence is deafening.
Immigrants — both voluntary and involuntary — have shaped this nation since long before its founding. The first Africans were brought here in bondage in 1619, one year before the Mayflower. Americans have never been a single ethnicity, speaking a single language, bound by the centuries to a single patch of land. We have always been diverse, polyglot and restless, and our greatness has come from our openness to new people and new ideas.
King’s distress about birthrates can be read only as modern-day eugenics. If he is worried about the coming day when there is no white majority in the United States, he has remarkably little faith in our remarkable society — or in the Constitution that he, as a member of Congress, is sworn to support and defend.
Writing for the Daily Kos, Gabe Ortiz summarizes Steve King’s long-winded, deplorable past:
While Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, and Stephen Miller have officially been trying to make America white again for only a few weeks now, King has been attacking Dreamers and comparing immigrants to dogs since the days when Trump’s main gig was still peddling Trump Steaks and firing Dennis Rodman from Celebrity Apprentice. Here’s a recap of some choice selections from King’s Hall of Shame.
Like that time in 2012 when King compared immigrants to selecting a dog—and then claimed he totally meant it as a compliment … Or that time in 2013 when King said that Dreamers have “calves the size of cantaloupes” because they’re hauling pot across the border … Or that time in 2014 when two Dreamers confronted King over his years-long war on DACA, with King grabbing one by the arm—a Latina Dreamer—and telling her, “You’re very good at English.”
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said:
Steve King’s racism is nothing new. What is relatively new, however, is the GOP’s enabling and coddling of him and his noxious views. At stake is the idea of America, and the battle lines are becoming clear. On one side are those who think that America is reserved for conservative white males, along with those who bow to their supremacy, and on the other are those who think that our founding principles apply to all Americans, regardless of background, beliefs or birthplace. We are confident that, despite the current crowd in power, the American idea will prevail.