Steve King Did Nazi This Question Coming
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) unloaded on an attendee of an Iowa town hall on Thursday when the embattled congressman was asked to comment on the similarity between his nativist rhetoric and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers’ expressed motive for allegedly opening fire on worshippers attending services on Saturday.
“As I’m sure all of us already heard, this Saturday there was a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh that tragically left 11 people dead. And the terrorist who committed this crime, he was quoted as saying, ‘They bring in baiters and then kill our people. I can’t sit back and watch our people get slaughtered,'” the attendee, identified by the Des Moines Register as Kaleb Nan Fossen, said. “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…”
That’s as far as the man was able to get before King blew up on him.
“No! Don’t you do that!”Do not associate me with that shooter,” a visibly agitated King said. “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 … You crossed the line. It is not tolerable to accuse me to be associated with a guy that shot 11 people in Pittsburgh.”
As King ranted, Van Fossen finished his question, asking King if he identifies as a “white nationalist” and what distinguishes his beliefs from the ideology of the Pittsburgh shooter. King responded by asking security to remove him from the event.
— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) November 1, 2018
While King has expressed racist views and associated with white nationalists for years, he’s come under renewed scrutiny during the final stretch of his reelection bid. King has been known to retweet anti-immigration sentiments from known far-right fringe figures, and he even endorsed Faith Goldy, Toronto’s white nationalist mayoral candidate who claimed that her country is undergoing a “white genocide,” calling her “an excellent candidate.” After visiting Auschwitz in October, King met with members of the far right Austria Freedom Party, which was founded and led by a former SS officer and Nazi sympathizers. King then gave an interview to the group’s website where he propagated conspiracy theories. From Washington Post:
In an interview with a website associated with the party, King (R-Iowa) declared that “Western civilization is on the decline,” spoke of the replacement of white Europeans by immigrants and criticized Hungarian American financier George Soros, who has backed liberal groups around the world.
“What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have?” King said in the interview. “Mexican food, Chinese food, those things — well, that’s fine. But what does it bring that we don’t have that is worth the price? We have a lot of diversity within the U.S. already.”
The Pittsburgh shooting suspect was motivated by anti-immigration animus when he posted on the alt-right microblogging site Gab that the Jewish non-profit HIAS, an organization dedicated to assisting refugees, is funding the migrant caravan currently traveling through Mexico as part of a nefarious plot to end whiteness in the United States.
“HIAS likes to bring invaders that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” Bowers wrote. “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
King shared his reaction to Van Fossen on social media because he’s apparently under the impression that he came off well.