Representative Steve King told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday that he is not a racist — but he wondered when terms like “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” became something unsavory and wrong.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
It’s not such a shocking question from the Iowa congressman, who is known for vocalizing white nationalist viewpoints. In the past year, King endorsed a white nationalist for mayor of Toronto, had an interview with members of a far-right Austrian political party with historic Nazi ties and retweeted a British neo-Nazi and refused to apologize for it.
The Times article highlights how King tried to implement his hardline stances on immigration long before President Trump’s government shutdown over a wall separating the U.S. and Mexico — King once presented a model of a 12-foot border wall on the House floor.
King told the Times that he’s not racist, and offered as proof his Twitter timeline showing him greeting a diverse group of Iowans in his office — where, the Times noted, he used to display a Confederate flag.
After a surprisingly narrow election victory over a underfunded Democratic challenger in last year’s midterms, King is now facing a primary challenge from Iowa State Senator Randy Feenstra. State governor Kim Reynolds has said that she will no longer endorse King.
This story "King Wonders How ‘White Supremacist’ Became Offensive" was written by Alyssa Fisher.