On January 10, The New York Times published an article titled, “Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics,” in which Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was interviewed.
The piece quotes King, who reportedly said: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, King was swiftly condemned by politicians and media figures, both progressive and conservative.
Former presidential candidate Jeb Bush tweeted: “It’s not enough to condemn @SteveKingIA’s unconscionable, racist remarks. Republican leaders must actively support a worthy primary opponent to defeat King, because he won’t have the decency to resign.”
Town Hall’s Guy Benson tweeted: “Steve King is a stain on Congress.”
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) penned an op-ed about the interview, calling King an “extremist” who is harming the Republican Party:
When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole. They want to be treated with fairness for some perceived slights but refuse to return the favor to those on the other side…
It is tempting to write King — or other extremists on race issues, such as black-nationalist Louis Farrakhan — as lonely voices in the wilderness, but they are far more dangerous than that. They continue to rip at the fabric of our nation, a country built on hope, strength and diversity.
Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro even called for King to be “censured,” and asked his followers to donate to the congressman’s 2020 primary challenger.
King later defended himself in a speech on the floor of the House, claiming that his words had be taken out of context, and that he “made a Freshman mistake” by not recording his interview with The New York Times.
He apologized for “the heartburn” that his remarks had caused, but went on to claim that there is “nothing about my family or my history or my neighborhood that would suggest that these false allegations could be supported by any activity whatsoever.”
There is, however, a lengthy record of controversial remarks from the representative, including his endorsement of Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy, who is on record having praised an article written by white nationalist Richard Spencer.
Just days after the piece from The New York Times was published, House Republicans announced that Rep. King wouldn’t be allowed to serve on any committees in the upcoming congressional session. King had previously served on multiple committees, and had been Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution & Civil Justice.
Despite the backlash, King remains resilient.
During a Friday-broadcast interview on “Iowa Press,” host David Yepsen asked the congressman if he was “sorry” for his remarks. King replied that he has “nothing to apologize for.”
We know what the news media has done continually, and the president has labeled The New York Times a dishonest entity. I think that’s pretty well been held up – not only The New York Times, but a number of other places.
So, if I look back through this, each thing starts out with some formerly credible organization that launches this, and then we have this phenomenon that America’s not ready for, and that’s this cyberbullying that unleashes … creating a firestorm. That’s what’s happened.
If you would just hold these publications to what is true, there is no story whatsoever.
King then implied that a “false” article published in October by The Washington Post was the beginning of a smear campaign against him, and that The New York Times interview simply furthered the ongoing attack.
He added that “similar drama” was taking place in numerous other congressional districts during the midterm election.
King was also asked to describe the term “white nationalism,” and he stated:
“White nationalism” is a term that’s used today – it really says “racist.” … and it meant a similar thing probably for a long time, but it’s not been utilized in our language in any way except [until] the last one, two, or three years.
…So, what I’m referring to is the weaponization of those terms again. I’ve said it multiple times, there is no part of me that believes in anything that’s advocated by folks that identify themselves as white nationalists or white supremacy.
And the Toronto mayor [candidate Faith Goldy] – been described as a white nationalist – so has the president by the Des Moines Register. And so, if we’re gonna run away from anybody that’s ever been labeled by somebody on the Left, we can’t talk to each other at all.