Enormous pressure on GOP leaders and the speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is rising day by day to take action against the Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for his racially offensive comments and his open support for white nationalist candidates.
The situation got to heat up just after the deadly shootout in the Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh and as a King, a staunch conservative and immigration hard-liner, all of a sudden ends up in his first competitive race in years.
GOP leaders are being asked by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Wednesday to formally censure King King and approached Ryan to strip King of his subcommittee chairmanship. Furthermore, on the same day Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla), a Hispanic lawmaker and competitor of re-election in South Florida said on MSNBC that he could never vote in favor of somebody like King and also said that “His comments and his actions are disgusting”.
In the election campaign, the contributing companies like Intel, Purina Petcare and Land O’Lakes also step back and stopped promoting King. Steve Stivers the formal chairman of National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) also issued a rare repudiation of King just a week before Election Day.
“Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate,” tweeted Stivers, a GOP congressman from Ohio and a member of Ryan’s leadership team.
Steve Stiver also tweeted that “Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate & We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.”
But there is huge silence among the top GOP leaders but no one from senior GOP aide is saying that King is good for the Republican Party.
GOP leaders are predicting that Steve King is not going to apologize especially after President Trump’s repeatedly self-declaration of “Nationalist” in the last week rally in Texas.
J.D. Scholten from the King’s Democratic Challenger appreciated the comments from Curbelo and Stivers and said: “I don’t think it shows much leadership by continuing to allow this to happen”.
This is not the first time when King is in controversy, John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2013 at news conference denounced kind publically after the lowa conservative said undocumented immigrants had “calves the size of cantaloupes” from hauling drugs across the desert.
Privately, Boehner called King an “asshole,” according to a lawmaker.
But King’s recent comments and actions have drawn more attention since Saturday’s mass shooting which left 11 dead and many injured at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
In the defense, Steve King said that all the attacks against him are “orchestrated by nasty, desperate and dishonest fake news.”
“Their ultimate goal is to flip the House and impeach Donald Trump,” Steve King said. “Establishment Never Trumpers are complicit.”
In 2016 the King’s 4th District in northwest Iowa went for trump by double in digits but now in these re-election race seems to be more competitive in recent days.
From the Democratic firm, the polls have been conducted on Oct. 27-29 found that the king with only a 1-point lead and on Tuesday nonpartisan Cook Political Report shifted its rating of the race from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.”
Dave Wasserman the editor at Cook’s house Tweeted that “Scholten as
Spent $1.4 million on ads for the past 2 weeks and getting $300,00 in air support form a Super PAC ripping King as “Klan and neo-Nazi approved.”
On the other hand, the King has not spent a single penny on ads. And few Republicans perceive Stivers’s tweet as a warning to GOP donors to stay away.
“Stivers represents the GOP apparatus. That was a signal to donors and super PACs to back off,” said the senior GOP aide.
“Our campaign has raised more than $350,000 in a period of just over 24 hours.” Scholten tweeted on Wednesday.
But the position of Steve King’s campaign is also very strong. The 18-point lead was mentioned in the poll conducted by WPA Intelligence.
The campaign said in a statement when it released the poll that “Iowa voters are overwhelmingly choosing to stick with Congressman Steve King’s proven leadership and they are rejecting his opponent’s nasty, desperate, and dishonest attacks funded by San Francisco liberals.”