Credit Steve King for staying on message.
The Iowa congressman told supporters at a Pizza Hut in Sioux City this week that his comments about white nationalism have been totally misconstrued by the media. But he also wanted to add that the West is a “superior civilization.”
“It is a superior civilization. It exists everywhere where Judeo-Christianity laid the footprint for civilization,” King said at the gathering, according to the Sioux Center News.
The nine-term congressman was stripped of his committee assignments in January after he mused in an interview with The New York Times about when being a white nationalist became such a bad thing. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King asked the Times.
This time, King condemned white nationalism and white supremacy as “odious ideologies” and claimed his words were taken out of context. (The Times has stood by its reporting).
“I’ve been treated like a federal felon for a misquote in the New York Times,” King said.
King found himself on the ropes in 2018, narrowly eking out a victory in his Iowa district after decades of simmering allegations of racism came to a head in the months leading up to the election. At issue was his trip to Austria in the summer of 2018, during which he met with members of a far-right, Nazi-linked political party.
He also gave an interview to a far-right publication, in which he discussed European superiority, threats posed by Arab and Latino immigration to “Western civilization,” and falling fertility rates in the U.S.
He was also criticized for promoting a white nationalist on Twitter. Ahead of the 2018 midterms, King lost major donors including Intel, Land O’Lakes, and Purina.
King is hoping to win reelection for the 10th time in 2020, but he may have an uphill battle trying to persuade his Republican colleagues to back him. After his comments to the Times, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers issued a stern rebuke of King’s rhetoric. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds,, a Republican, has said outright that she won't support him.
So he’s hoping his cadre of loyal supporters in Iowa might help him get back on track — and he asked them to call Gov. Reynolds to express their support for him, according to Sioux Center News.
“If the governor came out and did a press conference tomorrow, I think Kevin McCarthy would put me back on the committees the next day,” King said. “I think she needs to hear from you.”
Cover: U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, listens to a question during a news conference, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)