Representative Steve Stivers, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, sharply rebuked fellow Congressman Steve King for his white nationalist rhetoric, saying King's "recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate."
Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate. We must stand up agai… https://t.co/MvZdxGlPLx— Steve Stivers (@Steve Stivers) 1540921470.0
King later issued a response of his own, though his tweet did not appear to directly address Stivers's criticisms. Instead, he suggested that recent attacks against him "are orchestrated by nasty, desperate, and dishonest fake news."
King Response https://t.co/H8iXI3cM1x— Steve King (@Steve King) 1540927776.0
A source familiar with Stivers's line of thinking said Stivers "could not stay silent” after he'd been briefed on racially charged comments made recently by his colleague, whose hardline views on immigration policy are well known.
The NRCC won't support King's candidacy, according to Matt Gorman, the group’s communications director.
"The NRCC and Congressman Stivers haven't been afraid to show moral leadership when the time calls for it,” he said during an appearance on Fox News. “We believe Congressman King's words and actions are completely inappropriate and we strongly condemn them. We will not play in his race.”
King has been on the receiving end of backlash after he decided to endorse Faith Goldy, a white nationalist running in Toronto's mayoral race, and after he suggested liberal billionaire George Soros––a favorite target among far-right conspiracy theorists––was a part of the “Great Replacement," a conspiracy theory which claims there is a "push" to replace white Europeans with minorities.
Most recently, King defended his association with the Freedom Party, a Nazi-linked group in Austria.
“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans,” King told The Washington Post, at one point asking: “What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have?”
King faces Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten in Iowa's 4th District, a part of the state which voted for President Donald Trump by 27 percentage points in 2016. Scholten himself applauded Stivers for calling out King's recent behavior.
Last week I issued a challenge for at least one Republican elected official to condemn @SteveKingIA's recent behavi… https://t.co/wna3CRZG6F— J.D. Scholten (@J.D. Scholten) 1540924237.0
Iowa recently eliminated straight-ticket voting "which means King won't get votes from people who simply circle the Republican line; voters will have to affirmatively choose him," according to a CNN report.
The Sioux City Journal's editorial board recently endorsed Scholten, writing:
"King earlier this month put himself -- and, by extension, the rest of the district -- in an unflattering spotlight with a tweet in support of a candidate for mayor of Toronto described in published reports as a 'white nationalist' or 'white supremacist.' That wasn't the first time King was tied, by his words or actions, to such intolerant ugliness."
Purina, a company which markets pet food, treats, and litter, recently chose to drop campaign contributions to King amid the controversy, making the announcement in response to an inquiry from Judd Legum, a journalist with ThinkProgress.
@JuddLegum Our PAC contributions are typically made to elected officials from both parties who represent the local… https://t.co/s2aABlXNAp— Purina (@Purina) 1540930157.0
Dairy company Land O'Lakes announced earlier that it would no longer make financial contributions to King's campaign.
The Land O’Lakes, Inc. PAC has traditionally contributed to lawmakers of both parties that represent the communities where our members and employees live and work and are also on committees that oversee policies that directly impact our farmer owners," Land O'Lakes said in a statement, adding:
"We take our civic responsibility seriously, want our contributions to be a positive force for good and also seek to ensure that recipients of our contributions uphold our company’s values. On that basis, we have determined that our PAC will no longer support Rep. Steve King moving forward."