Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that he plans to run for a 10th term in Congress despite his history of comments supporting white supremacy.
“I have nothing to apologize for,” King said in a taping of the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press.” The show is scheduled to air Friday evening.
King has received nationwide criticism, including from members of his own party, and was stripped of congressional committee assignments after a New York Times interview Jan. 10 in which he defended white nationalism.
“If there’s ever going to be a time not to have committee assignments, this time with Nancy Pelosi as the speaker of the House is the time,” he said Thursday.
Despite the backlash, the Iowa lawmaker said he will be seeking re-election in 2020, having already drawn three primary challengers.
“Don’t let the elitists in this country, the power brokers in this country, tell you who’s going to represent you in the United States Congress,” said King, who won re-election in 2018 by 3.6 percentage points against Democrat J.D. Scholten.
For years, King has parroted and promoted white nationalist and neo-Nazi propaganda, and he has openly associated with fascist and far-right figures in the U.S. and abroad. But he received much more spotlight after the Times interview, in which he questioned the offensiveness of the terms “white nationalist,” “white supremacist” and “Western civilization.”
The Iowa Republican said Thursday that he was misquoted by the Times. He said he was talking about Western civilization and not white supremacy, an excuse he’s made before regarding the remarks.
“If you would just hold these publications to what is true, there is no story whatsoever,” he said. “There is no part of me that believes in anything that’s advocated by folks that identify themselves as white nationalists or white supremacy.”
King spoke on the House floor Jan. 15 denouncing racism and bigotry. But a HuffPost report weeks later found that the racist lawmaker was still using his official government website to direct his constituents to a white nationalist blog that regularly publishes racists, anti-Semites and Nazi sympathizers. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) alerted the House Ethics Committee of King’s white nationalism after reading the report.