Since a gunman who expressed his hatred for Jewish people on social media shot and killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is under renewed scrutiny for his ties to neo–Nazi groups.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that during a trip to Europe that was funded by a Holocaust memorial group, Republicans’ resident white supremacist met with members of Austria’s Freedom Party, a far-right party founded by a former Nazi SS officer.
The Post caught up with King on the campaign trail in Iowa following Saturday’s mass shooting. The GOP congressman brushed aside concerns about his anti-Semitism, claiming that groups he associates with are more accurately described as “far-right” than neo-Nazi.
Specifically citing Austria’s Freedom Party, the Iowa Republican said:
“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans.”
As the Post reported, Austria’s Freedom Party is “now led by Heinz-Christian Strache, who was active in neo-Nazi circles as a youth.” Despite the party insisting it has abandoned Nazi ideology, in February, a top official in the party was forced to resign after it was revealed that he used to lead a fraternity that used a songbook that joked about murdering Jewish people.
The GOP lawmaker, who has served in Congress since 2003, tweeted “we can’t restore our civilization with someone else’s babies” in March 2017. A year earlier, he implied that white people had contributed more to society than “any other subgroup.”