Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) rebuked Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the congressman from the state’s fourth district and an open white supremacist who served as her campaign co-chairman and with whom Reynolds held her final campaign rally just over a week ago.
Asked by a local reporter if she had talked to King about a “series of controversies” he has been facing recently — a nice euphemism for “consistently being an avowed racist” — Reynolds said the two haven’t had time to talk because she’s been busy following the election.
She added, however, “I think that Steve King needs to make a decision if he wants to represent the people and the values of the 4th District or do something else, and I think he needs to take a look at that.”
The Des Moines Register characterized the remark Tuesday as Reynolds “signaling… she’s lost her patience.”
In recent weeks, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) disavowed King, calling his “recent comments, actions, and retweets” inappropriate.
“We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn his behavior,” Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) tweeted.
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.
— Steve Stivers (@RepSteveStivers) October 30, 2018
“As much as the GOP needs King to hold that seat, his dalliances with racists and anti-Semites are too high a price to pay for it,” Jonathan S. Tobin wrote in The National Review.
Dalliances, as anyone who’s spent five minutes on King’s Twitter can tell you, is an understatement.
As ThinkProgress’ Luke Barnes detailed last month, “He’s retweeted British neo-Nazi Mark Collett and steadfastly refused to apologize for it, been endorsed by the Daily Stormer, made frequent trips to visit the far-right government of Austria, and, perhaps most infamously, quipped that ‘we can’t restore our civilization with someone else’s babies.'”
He also recently endorsed a far-right candidate running for mayor of Toronto, shouted down a reporter who asked him about the recent anti-Semitic shooter in Pittsburgh, and then lied about calling immigrants “dirt” before he was disproved when a conservative magazine published audio in which King did, in fact, call immigrants “dirt.”
Nevertheless, Reynolds patiently kept him on as her campaign co-chairman.
“I can’t be held responsible for everyone’s comments. I can be held responsible for myself,” she told a reporter in late October who asked about whether King would be removed from the campaign.
Here is a clip of my asking @KimReynoldsIA if she'll remove @SteveKingIA as campaign co-chair, in wake of calls for her to do so. "I can't be held responsible for everyone's comments. I can be held responsible for myself," she told me. WACTH ⬇️#iagov #iapolitics pic.twitter.com/4RJS8rDdGV
— Caroline Cummings (@CaroRCummings) October 31, 2018
Now that she’s back in office for a four-year term — and finding King to be under more fire for his views than ever before — the tables have turned, and Reynolds is beginning to find that the convenience of enabling King to be rougher sledding than it had been previously.
In a statement to the Des Moines Register, a spokesperson for King said, “Congressman King loves Gov. Reynolds, is thankful to her for signing his heartbeat bill into law, and notes that they are birds of a feather because they won by similar margins.”