Last week, Sen. Joni Ernst took to Twitter to “condemn” Rep. Steve King’s “comments on white supremacy,” calling them “racist” and “not representative of our state of Iowa.”
“We cannot continue down this path if we want to continue to be a great nation,” Ernst wrote of King, both Republicans from Iowa.
But King has been going down that path for years, and Ernst and other Republicans in Washington and Des Moines have been with him the whole way — shrugging off his racist and xenophobic remarks or issuing muted criticism when they came at politically inconvenient times.
Now, after a narrow re-election win in November, King is under significant fire from his own party for the first time in his 16-year Washington career.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in a New York Times article published Thursday, sparking immediate outrage from Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the only black Republican in the Senate.
The House minority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Monday announced King would be stripped of his assignments on the Judiciary and Agriculture committees but dismissed the obvious question: Why didn’t the GOP disown King after one of his previous controversies?
“I have not been in Congress for those 16 years,” said McCarthy, who has been in Congress for 12 years.
“I have just now become the leader of the Republican party. Maybe I had not seen those, but I heard these,” he said, contradicting himself when he added, “This is not the first time we’ve heard these comments.”
Republicans distancing themselves from King now have long known King’s agenda — and were happy to have him on their side.
July 2006: King Calls for an Electrified Fence on the Southern Border
King: I want to put the fence in, but I want to put a wall in, and I designed one. And this just simply is the desert floor — put a trench in that desert floor. … We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.” (Congressional Record, 7/11/06)
March 2008: King Says Terrorists Would Celebrate Obama Win
King: “When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected President of the United States — I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam? … Additionally, his middle name (Hussein) does matter. It matters because they read a meaning into that in the rest of the world. That has a special meaning to them. They will be dancing in the streets because of his middle name. They will be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says: Pull out of the Middle East and pull out of this conflict.” (Spencer Daily Reporter, 3/8/08)
November 2010: King Says Settlements for Black Farms Are ‘Slavery Reparations’
We’ve got to stand up at some point and say we’re not going to pay slavery reparations in the United States Congress. That war has been fought. That was over a century ago. That debt was paid for in blood—it was paid for in the blood of a lot of Yankees especially — and there are no reparations for the blood that paid for the sin of slavery. No one is filing that claim. They’re just filing claims because they think they can get away with it and because they believe they understand, probably appropriately, that not a lot of Members of Congress want to stand and fight that battle.” (Congressional Record, 11/29/10)
July 2012: King Doesn’t Rule Out Theory Obama Was Born in Kenya
King: “We went down into the Library of Congress and we found a microfiche there of two newspapers in Hawaii each of which had published the birth of Barack Obama. It would have been awfully hard to fraudulently file the birth notice of Barack Obama being born in Hawaii and get that into our public libraries and that microfiche they keep of all the newspapers published. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some other explanations on how they might’ve announced that by telegram from Kenya. The list goes on.” (Huffington Post, 8/1/12)
September 2012: Mitt Romney Endorses King
Romney: “I’m looking here at Steve King. He needs to be your congressman again. I want him as my partner in Washington, D.C.” (MSNBC, 9/7/12)
July 2013: King Says Most DREAMers Were Drug Mules
King: “There are kids that were brought into this country by their parents unknowing they were breaking the law. And they will say to me and others who defend the rule of law, ‘We have to do something about the 11 million. Some of them are valedictorians.’ Well, my answer to that is … it’s true in some cases, but they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents. For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. Those people would be legalized with the same act.” (New York Times, 8/12/13)
April 2015: King Hosts Anti-Islam Dutch Politician Geert Wilders
King: “I’ve been looking forward for weeks for Mr. Wilders to arrive here because he brings with him a message of the experience they have had in we Europe and the impact it has on their culture, their economy, on their national security. He’s a man who has, I think, been bold and confident and factual in presentations he has made about the risks that Europe, Western Europe in particular, is going through and the changes to their culture and society because of it.”
(Rep. Steve King – YouTube, 5/1/15)
January 2016: Sen. Ted Cruz Praises King, Names Him Campaign Co-Chair
Cruz: “You look at the patriots we have here today. Matt and Jason and Louis and Gov. Rick Perry and Steve King and Bob Vander Plaats and Tony Perkins. What an incredible array of principled, constitutionalist fighters who stand with the American people.” (NBC News, 1/6/16, C-SPAN, 1/27/16)
April 2016: Sen. Joni Ernst Endorses King
Ernst: “I’m supporting Steve King for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. Steve has stood strong for life and liberty, and, speaking personally, I have appreciated his support for our military overseas and our brave servicemen and women as they return home.” (King for Congress – YouTube, 4/25/16)
July 2016: King Questions What ‘Sub-Groups’ Besides Whites Made Contributions to Civilization
King: “This ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?” (Washington Post, 7/18/16)
March 2017: King: ‘We Can’t Restore Our Civilization with Somebody Else’s Babies’
King: “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” (Steve King – Twitter, 3/12/17)
June 2017: Ernst Hosts King at Her Annual Fundraiser (Des Moines Register, 6/3/17)
October 2018: King Praises Neo-Nazi Austrian Political Party
King: “If (Austria’s Freedom Party) were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans.” (Washington Post, 10/28/18)
October 2018: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Keeps King As Co-Chair
Reynolds: “I can’t be held responsible for everyone’s comments. I can be held responsible for myself.” (KGAN, 10/31/18)
November 2018: Sen. Chuck Grassley Endorses King
Grassley: “Iowa needs Steve King in Congress. I also need Steve King in Congress. I feel like I do a good job of representing Iowans, and so often I have found Steve King to be such an ally — an ally that I need in the other body, called the House of Representatives.” (Steve King – Twitter, 11/5/18)