Years before President Donald Trump entered the political scene touting his border wall and hardline immigration policies, Iowa Rep. Steve King was spewing his own anti-immigrant, White nationalist rhetoric.
For a long time, that rhetoric — fringe as it was — worked for King, but the 2018 midterms brought a stern rebuke to the congressman, even if he was able to eke out another re-election win.
The New York Times noted that King lost corporate donors, including Land O’Lakes and Smithfield, after he offered public support to a Toronto mayoral candidate with neo-Nazi ties and sat down with a far-right Austrian group “accused of trivializing the Holocaust.”
During an interview with the Times, King insisted he is not a racist, saying he supports legal immigration so long as those immigrants assimilate — “because what matters more than race is “the culture of America” based on values brought to the United States by whites from Europe,” according to King.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Mr. King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
He spoke of “the Great Replacement,” a conspiracy theory on the far right that claims shadowy elites are working behind the scenes to reduce white populations to minorities in their own countries.
“Great replacement, yes,” Mr. King said in the interview. “These people walking into Europe by ethnic migration, 80 percent are young men.”
“What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have? Mexican food. Chinese food,” he said. “Those things, well, that’s fine, but what does it bring that we don’t have that is worth the price?”