Rep. Steve King Could Lose His Primary, Seeks Committee Reinstatement After Defending White Supremacy

Representative Steve King, of Iowa, is fighting to restore his position on legislative committees after openly defending white supremacy. However, his hold on his House seat may be tenuous. Current polls show that his primary chances are tight, and his blatant defense of racism may have been the final straw that prevents him from returning to former authority.

steve king white supremacy defense might lose primary
[Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)]

King has a long history of racist and inappropriate remarks. He’s tweeted to declare that BPOC face no oppression in modern society, routinely appropriates minority struggles for anti-abortion arguments, and attacked Obama’s Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program by sharing articles that, without evidence, suggest a link between the program and any Hispanic person caught committing a crime. In one such tweet he also suggested that DACA recipients are less likely to show high levels of academic success. There are tweets hinting that American culture is, by definition, white, Christian (the second tweet below references a deleted tweet about Muslims), and English-speaking.

Those are just the tweets. USA Today harvested a collection of things King has said out loud — like suggesting that an electric fence would be appropriate for the U.S.-Mexico border because those are used for livestock, saying that minorities don’t contribute to civilization, and more associations of immigrants and drug smuggling.

However, it was when he openly complained that “white supremacy” and “white nationalism” shouldn’t be treated as wrong or harmful that he got his party’s attention.

White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?

After King questioned, in an interview, exactly what was so wrong with white supremacy anyway, he was, Politico reports, removed from all his House legislative committee appointments. He’s currently fighting to have those restored, but House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy may just be placating the Iowan Representative until he’s out of office. Though he’s reportedly given King permission to plead his case, other House members — including Republicans Steve Stivers and Liz Cheney — have already said they would not support King being seated on any committees.

In the meantime, Steve King is facing a primary June 2nd, with four GOP opponents. On Wednesday, Randy Feenstra tweeted a boast that he and King were in a statistical tie, as he called for additional support.

The Daily Kos shows the most recent poll numbers placing King’s support at 39% of voters, and Feenstra with 36%. With just over two weeks until the primary election date, that’s a close race.

Feenstra is telling supporters that King’s removal from committees is one more reason they should vote the incumbent out, because there’s currently no Republican representing Iowa on any House committees, and that King’s “bizarre behavior” is costing Iowa politically.

If Steve King’s restoration to committee seats is only a pipe dream, it could lend support to Feenstra’s campaign promise to be a voice on those committees. Sources close to McCarthy have said that the agreement is only to allow King to state his case, and that there’s no promised time frame, while King has suggested that the House Minority Leader plans to fully restore King’s committee seats. King isn’t expressing any remorse for his defense of white supremacy, but claims he’s been misquoted.

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