Gov. Reynolds Campaign Manager: Steve King
Here’s an oldie but a goodie — Wrote this for Playboy (yes, and?) — January 2019
The Iowa congressman has always been racist, why do Republicans suddenly want him out?
“In the U.S., we have almost a million abortions a year, babies who would be raised by American parents. Then, we bring in 1.2 million legal immigrants a year and add another 600,000 or so illegal immigrants. We add to our population approximately 1.8 million of somebody else’s babies who are raised in another culture before they get to us. We are replacing our American culture 2 to 1 every year.” – Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King in 2018 on his fear of “The Great Replacement”
What will the 2020 general election look like? We turn to Iowa—first state in the nation to get a crack at winnowing a field of presidential hopefuls. I remember caucus time in Iowa as a kid. Caucus time was part carnival—watching as politicians visited the Iowa State Fair, posed alongside the famous butter cow, mugged with the pork queen, plucked babies from the crowd to coo and cuddle—but in the end all business. This isn’t nostalgia for my home state (though Iowa is always home). This isn’t the naïve reflection of an Iowa farm girl. It is simply the truth. Iowa is the political bellwether…as goes Iowa.
This is a story about Donald Trump, who has remained silent as the House condemns King. This is a story about Mitch McConnell and his gasping hoard of Republican lawmakers who had no idea one of their own, Iowa Rep. Steve King, was a white supremacist until they read that story in *The New York Times. *
The last thing this story is about is Steve King.
It isn’t just Iowans who’ve known that King is racist. Absolutely everyone who has ever switched on a television, scrolled through Twitter or Facebook, listened to the radio or read a paper knows Steve King has always been a white supremacist.
This is the story of scapegoating one of the least effective members of Congress for the racist sins of GOP—because guess what—2020 is already here. Candidates are already showing up in Iowa and forming exploratory committees.
This is the story of scapegoating one of the least effective members of Congress for the racist sins of GOP. Stripping King of his committee assignments amounts to political theater.
Mitch McConnell saying ‘maybe King should find a different line of work’ is a toxic smokescreen. Stripping King of his committee assignments amounts to political theater. Mitt Romney saying King needs to resign, that someone representing Republican values should replace him. See? The GOP aren’t a bunch of racists!
In an interview this week with Iowa Public Radio, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked: King has been making these kinds of racial comments his whole career on Capitol Hill, 16 years now—what took the GOP so long to act?
McCarthy, who until recently, lived under a rock, said: “I have not been in Congress for those 16 years. I have just now become the leader of the Republican Party. Maybe I had not seen those [well-documented racist King-isms] but I’d—I heard these. I disagree with these. These are reckless. These are wrong. These are nothing associated with America.” McCarthy, who has been called Trump’s guy on Capitol Hill, posted on Twitter (then deleted) a conspiracy theory about neo-Nazi bogeyman George Soros and Trump’s MAGA hashtag in the run up to the midterms.
Donald Trump has a long racist pedigree that goes all the way back to his 1970s days of refusing housing to black applicants in New York City. Trump as president didn’t create a bunch of bigots, Trump gave them a voice. He said the things that let white men and women know he was on our side. Wink. Nod. He went unchecked by a complicit GOP and a click- hungry media. After the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, after torch-bearing white supremacists flooded the city streets chanting “Jews will not replace us,” Trump saw good from “both sides.”
I remember caucus time in Iowa as a kid. Caucus time was part carnival, but in the end all business. Iowa is the political bellwether.
In October 2018, he stumped for Steve King to a crowd in Des Moines. In 2015, Steve King said that Trump was “the leader” on immigration. In fact, King said he advised the Trump campaign on the then-presidential candidate’s immigration policy proposal, a proposal that included King’s call for ending birthright citizenship. Steve King didn’t back Trump in Iowa in 2016, but importantly King did back the winner Ted Cruz.
And that is why Mitch McConnell is clutching his pearls over the latest in nearly two decades of abhorrent hate speech from King. Because in Iowa, King still matters and to Republicans Iowa voters matter if you want to win the White House or—as is probably more to the point—win back some House Seats.
I have read articles saying that the GOP has finally had enough of all this racist nonsense as reason to call out King after all this time. That we as a society have reached some sort of magical tipping point after The New York Times published King’s longstanding worldview.
But that is a lie. The only point we are at is the one where Mitch McConnell and his ilk realize they lost the House in grand fashion and if they hope to get any seats back they have to ease up on the white supremacy bit. If the Republicans cared about white nationalism they wouldn’t throw up voter ID laws and gerrymandering bills, or throw babies into Trump Camps at our southern border to die. They would expand Medicaid, invest in public education, and recognize black maternal mortality rates as a national emergency instead of claiming abortion is “black genocide.”
Remember, this story isn’t about Steve King, he has always been a racist. It is a political shell game played by white men in positions of power—scared white men, because they see “the other” everywhere. And the most scared of them all?
I defer to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib: that motherfucker.