Rep. Steve King Explodes At Town Hall Attendee When Asked About White Nationalist Links
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) went on an explosive tirade on Thursday when an attendee at his town hall meeting drew comparisons between his anti-immigrant ideology and Robert Bowers, the man accused of killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Sunday.
The incident began when the attendee, a young man dressed in plaid, quoted a post made by the accused shooter that expressed hateful and racist views of immigrants, following up by quoting a comment made by King about restoring American civilization.
“The terrorist who committed this crime, he was quoted as saying, ‘they bring invaders in that kill our people, I can’t sit back and watch our people get slaughtered.’ You, Steve King, have been quoted as saying, ‘we can’t restore our civilization with other people’s babies.’ You and the shooter both share an ideology that is fundamentally anti-immigration,” the attendee said before King cut him off.
— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) November 1, 2018
“No, don’t you do that,” said King. “Do not associate me with that shooter. I knew you were an ambusher when you walked in the room, but there is no basis for that and you get no question and you get no answer.”
The attendee repeatedly tried to finish his question, saying, “I was about to ask you what distinguishes your ideology,” but King continued to cut him off by telling him that he doesn’t “play these games here.”
The young man continued on, asking King whether he identified as a white nationalist, and questioning him on why he met with a white supremacist organization in Austria, referencing King’s meetings with representatives of the far-right Austria Freedom Party.
“Stop it. You’re done,” responded King, his voice breaking.
The Iowa Representative then asked that the attendee be escorted out of the room.
He attempted to downplay his links to the Austrian white supremacist organization by explaining that he had been invited to meet with business leaders in Austria at the behest of one of the party’s members, and that one of the people he met with self-identified as Jewish.
King is running for reelection in a county that Donald Trump won by 27 points, but controversies surrounding the aforementioned meeting and his endorsement of a white nationalist candidate in Canada have narrowed the race.
Suspicions of King’s white nationalist leanings have caused members of his own party to turn against him.
Chairman of the National Republican Committee, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), came out against King this week, tweeting, “Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate. We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.”
Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate. We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.
— Steve Stivers (@RepSteveStivers) October 30, 2018
Companies like Land O’ Lakes and Intel Corp. have also pulled their support of King, saying that they will no longer fund his campaign.
King leads his Democratic opponent, J.D. Scholten, by one percentage point, a number well within the margin of error for county polls.