For more than a decade, Iowa congressman Steve King was seen as little more than a local wingnut, too extreme, too nativist, too racist for mainstream political discourse. He kept winning re-election somehow, but he was largely shunned by most Republican power brokers and elites. Then Donald Trump happened, and Trump is basically Steve King with a outer-borough New York accent. Trump adopted all of King’s rhetoric about immigration, border walls and race in general. That’s why the New York Times interviewed Rep. King this week, as we are in midst of a government shutdown which seems to largely be about Trump’s racism and his need for a metaphoric wall. This is the part of the King interview getting the attention:
Mr. King, in the interview, said he was not a racist. He pointed to his Twitter timeline showing him greeting Iowans of all races and religions in his Washington office. (The same office once displayed a Confederate flag on his desk.)
At the same time, he said, he supports immigrants who enter the country legally and fully assimilate because what matters more than race is “the culture of America” based on values brought to the United States by whites from Europe.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Mr. King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
Steve King said the quiet part out loud, to a national publication. Even though he meant every word and sentiment, he had to do the public dance of correcting himself, saying:
“Today, the New York Times is suggesting I am an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy. I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define.Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives.”
He goes on to say that he is not an advocate for “white nationalism and white supremacy. I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I reject those labels and the evil ideology they define.” Which is horsesh-t, because his New York Times interview was part of a familiar pattern, all part of the dance these white men do with their neo-Nazi supporters. They give an interview like this, showing their clear allegiance to white supremacists, then they issue a carefully worded half-denial. It’s all to throw red meat at their Nazi supporters. And make no f–king mistake, Steve King really doesn’t see what’s wrong with white supremacy. Donald Trump is the same. Stephen Miller is the same. Steve Bannon is the same. Mike Pence is the same. Ivanka Trump is the same.
My statement on the New York Times article. pic.twitter.com/IjBHgZYgRD
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) January 10, 2019
Photos courtesy of Getty.