Accused white nationalist Rep. Steve King announced Tuesday that he’s bringing one half of infamous #MAGA duo “Diamond and Silk” as his guest to State of the Union.
“Having only one ticket, I invited one of two guests for the State of the Union tonight,” the Iowa congressman wrote on Twitter. “Diamond won the coin toss.”
Diamond and Silk — Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, respectively — made their debut on the national stage during the 2016 presidential campaign after publishing a series of videos in support of then-candidate Donald Trump. As two black women, their enthusiastic support of Trump stood out from the rest of his red-hatted fans, who are overwhelmingly male and white.
It’s not the first time King has rubbed shoulders with the duo, who were on the Trump campaign’s payroll for “Field Consulting” in 2016. In April 2018, they alleged that they’d been blocked and censored by Facebook, after they received notice saying that they were “unsafe to the community.” Facebook apologized for sending them the notice but denied ever banning them from the platform. King, who at the time sat on the House Judiciary Committee, invited the pair to testify before Congress about their perceived censorship.
King’s choice of guest comes less than a month after he wondered, in an interview with the New York Times, when being a white supremacist became such a bad thing.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive,” King was quoted as saying in a Times interview published in early January. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
King, who was narrowly re-elected last November, has fended off accusations that he's privately harbored racist and white supremacist sympathies for decades. His remarks to the Times, however, tipped the scales for some GOP members. In response, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy oversaw King’s removal from Committee posts but stopped short of censuring him, instead leading the House to overwhelmingly in favor of a bill condemning white nationalism. (King voted in favor of the bill.)
King has rejected any suggestion that he was a white supremacist or white nationalist but did concede that he was a “nationalist.”
In an interview with conservative radio host Ed Martin last month, King said he was “at peace” with his comments to the Times. “I am at peace with my soul with this and I am confident that what I have done has been true and right and just and honest,” he said. “I’m very comfortable standing before God and answering for all of this.”
Cover image: Lynnette Hardaway, left, and Rochelle Richardson a.k.a. Diamond and Silk arrive at the LA Premiere of "Death of a Nation" at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live on Monday, July 31, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)