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Last year, Iowa congressman Steve King put the cherry on top of a career of loud and public racism in an interview with The New York Times. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?” he mused at the time, in remarks that cost him his seats on the Judiciary and Agriculture committees and spurred his own party leader Mitch McConnell to suggest that he seek “another line of work.”
So on Friday, King took to the House floor to deliver a rambling speech marking the anniversary of the interview that cost him his committee placements—and, in true Steve King style, continued to make racist comments while doing so.
The term white nationalist, said King, “is a weaponized term created by the left to attack conservatives with. It’s one of their weaponized terms because they wore out the word racist and they needed to make up some new terms to be offended by.”
King has a lengthy history of making racist statements and supporting fervent white nationalists. He infamously said that DREAMers have “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling seventy-five pounds of marijuana across the desert, and questioned whether any race “[contributed more] to civilization” than white people. He was even the subject of a fundraising push by the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate organization Identity Evropa.
“They’ve been calling people racist for 20 to 25 years, and they’ve watched as Republicans, especially southern conservative Republicans, curl up away from that kind of accusation and it shuts them down,” King said Friday. And even as he whined about being called racist, he made sure to say something decidedly bigoted about Holocaust survivor George Soros.
“The resistance movement was born in that hotel by Democrat leadership led by George Soros and no doubt funded by George Soros,” King said, invoking an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about the Jewish Democratic donor. “Out of that also came some words to be weaponized: white nationalist, white supremacist, Nazi, fascist.”
The false theory that Soros somehow secretly controls American politics and media has been connected to the worst instance of anti-Semitic violence in American history, last year’s shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. The shooter had professed on social media that he believed Soros was behind the migrant caravan then traveling towards the US border.
So that’s right: Steve King thought that trotting out an anti-Semitic talking point was a good way to convince everyone that they were wrong to call him a racist.