Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Monday he hoped Supreme Court justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor would “elope to Cuba” so Republicans could stack the court.
Speaking in Hampton, Iowa, the eight-term congressman said he was hopeful that, some time after Tuesday’s midterms, Republicans would “have a 7-2 court.”
Referencing former President Barack Obama’s two appointments to the court, King said that maybe “Kagan and Sotomayor will elope to Cuba.”
The Republican attacked Kagan and Sotomayor in 2015 after they ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, claiming the justices were “conducting same-sex marriages before they sat down to decide the case.”
The comments were the latest in a string of inflammatory, often racist statements that have seen King come under intense criticism in recent weeks.
Last week, the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, condemned King for his “completely inappropriate” stances, saying “we must stand up against white supremacy and hate.”
Conservative opinion leaders in the media have called for King to step down, while corporate backers, including Intel, Purina PetCare and Land O’Lakes have also withdrawn their support.
King has come under fire for meeting with members of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, and questioning the value of diversity in an interview with a website affiliated to the party. Last month, he endorsed Faith Goldy, a far-right candidate for the Toronto mayoralty, who has claimed there’s a “white genocide” taking place.
King has also retweeted self-proclaimed Nazi sympathizers, and warned of the “Great Replacement” — a white nationalist talking point that whites are being substituted with ethnic minorities through immigration. Echoing a prominent anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, King has identified Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish, as being a driving force behind this dynamic.
His views are nothing new. Two years ago, he tweeted his support to far-right European politicians, including the anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders and a leader of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany, claiming that “cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.”
But in the wake of the synagogue shooting in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, King’s politics have come under increased scrutiny, with the Anti-Defamation League writing to House Speaker Paul Ryan calling for King to be held to account.
At a Des Moines event last week, King was asked if he identified as a white supremacist, and responded by kicking the questioner out of the room. He later denounced the encounter as a product of “Leftist Media Lies.”
King has attempted to brush off the criticism as the work of “nasty, desperate, and dishonest fake news” that sought to “flip the House and impeach Donald Trump.”
While he won with 61 percent of the vote in 2016, this year King is locked in a tight race with his Democratic challenger, J.D. Scholten. But with many of his supporters unmoved by the accusations of racism, he is still tipped as the favorite to prevail.
Cover image: Representative Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, speaks during the South Carolina Freedom Summit hosted by Citizens United and Congressman Jeff Duncan in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, May 9, 2015. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)