U.S. Congressman Steve King (R-IA) is now defending himself after The New York Times published an interview Thursday in which he made remarks defending both white nationalism and white supremacism. Rep. King asked the paper of record when “white nationalism” and “white supremacism” became “offensive,” drawing attention to his long history of racist and bigoted remarks.
“Today, the New York Times is suggesting that I am an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy,” King said in a statement. “I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define. Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives.”
King is referring to these remarks published in the lengthy interview the Times ran Thursday:
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Mr. King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
In his statement Congressman King did not deny making the offensive remarks in which he asked when white nationalism and white supremacism had become offensive.
And he wasn’t done trying to cover up his racist past. Instead, in his press release King actually compared himself to the Founding Fathers.
“It’s true that like the Founding Fathers I am an advocate for Western Civilization’s values, and that I profoundly believe that America is the greatest tangible expression of these ideals the World has ever seen,” he wrote. “Under any fair political definition, I am simply a Nationalist. America’s values are expressed in our founding documents, they are attainable by everyone and we take pride that people of all races, religions, and creeds from around the globe aspire to achieve them. I am dedicated to keeping America this way.”
That’s false. King has a long record of making racist and bigoted remarks.
“This conviction does not make me a white nationalist or a white supremacist. Once again, I reject those labels and the ideology that they define. As I told the New York Times, ‘it’s not about race; it’s never been about race.’ One of my most strongly held beliefs is that we are all created in God’s image and that human life is sacred in all its forms.”
Despite his pleas and denials, Rep. King, possibly for the first time in his nearly two-decade tenure as a House Republican, is getting some push back from (a handful of) Republicans.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming called his comments “racist”:
These comments are abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse. Steve King asks how terms ‘white nationalist’ and ‘white supremacist’ became offensive | TheHill https://t.co/yL23avpNFB
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) January 10, 2019
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan labeled King’s remarks “an embrace of racism”:
This is an embrace of racism, and it has no place in Congress or anywhere. https://t.co/jUXsNgckPE
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 10, 2019
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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Steve King Just Can’t Give a Straight Answer When a Constituent Asks Him if White Societies Are ‘Superior’
‘That’s So Hypothetical’
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) seems keenly aware that his longtime personal style of espousing open white supremacy is starting to wreck his political career.
Perhaps for that reason, at a recent town hall event, King tried a slightly different tack —as The New York Times reported:
“Do you think a white society is superior to a nonwhite society?” Mary Lavelle, 63, asked, testing his reputation for white supremacist sympathies.
“I don’t have an answer for that. That’s so hypothetical,” Mr. King, Republican of Iowa, told her. “I’ll say this, America is not a white society — it has never been a completely white society. We came here and joined the Native Americans.”
He continued: “I’ve long said that a baby can be lifted out of a cradle anywhere in the world and brought into any home in America, whatever the color of the folks in that household, and they can be raised to be American as any other. And I believe that every one of us, every one of us, is created in God’s image.”
Leaving aside the ridiculousness of King’s claim that we “joined the Native Americans” when in fact the colonists and their descendants conducted a brutal genocide against them, King has not “long said” that a baby from anywhere in the world could be raised American. In fact, he famously said the exact opposite in 2017, warning that “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
For years, King was given total impunity by his Republican colleagues to engage in appalling racism, from claiming that most young Mexicans are drug mules to giving an interview to a Nazi-founded Austrian group during a Holocaust education trip. The last straw, however, was an interview with The New York Times in January, in which he demanded to know when “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” became offensive terms. Finally recognizing King was a political liability, Republicans condemned him and stripped him of his House committee assignments.
Now, it seems, King is trying to reinvent his public image. But if his answer on “white societies” is representative of his efforts, it won’t end well for him.
Former GOP Gov. Warns Eliminating Electoral College Means It’s Only ‘Minorities That Would Elect’ Presidents
Paul LePage is not staying quiet now that he’s left politics in Maine. The foul-mouthed former Republican Tea Party Governor is claiming that a bill lawmakers are considering to support the elimination of the Electoral College nationwide would disenfranchise white voters.
“Actually what would happen if they do what they say they’re gonna do is white people will not have anything to say. It’s only going to be the minorities that would elect. It would be California, Texas, Florida,” LePage told a Maine radio station he called in to from his new home in Florida, the Maine Beacon reports.
LePage, a Trump supporter who often bragged he was Trump before Trump was Trump, called the move “an insane process” and warned, “we’re gonna be forgotten people.”
The “we” he was referring to is white people.
Duke University Professor Steps Down After Complaint About Chinese Speakers on Campus
Megan Lee Neely, an assistant professor and director of graduate studies at Duke University, has stepped down after a controversy surrounding an email she sent to students on Friday. In the email, Neely aired complaints from two unnamed teachers over Chinese students speaking Chinese, demanding that they speak English on campus.
One professor from Duke University sent out an email asking Chinese students not to speak Chinese in school building. pic.twitter.com/6xGkIeScJo
— (@siruihua) January 26, 2019
“Both faculty members picked out a small group of first year students who they observed speaking Chinese (in their words, VERY LOUDLY) in the student lounge,” said Neely in the email. “They wanted to write down the names so they could remember them if the students ever interviewed for an internship or asked to work with them for a master’s project.
“They were disappointed that the students were not taking the opportunity to improve their English and were being so impolite as to have a conversation that not everyone on the floor could understand,” Neely continued.
Neely concluded with a warning to students to “PLEASE PLEASE keep these unintended consequences in mind when you choose to speak Chinese in the building,” and urged the students to “commit to using English 100% of the time when you are in Hock (Hock Plaza, a property at the campus) or any other professional setting.”
The email was circulated on social media, where a second, similar note from Neely, from early 2018, also made the rounds.
The response was swift, with the Dean of Duke’s School of Medicine, Mary E. Klotman, sending an email of her own, apologizing for Neely’s email, and clarifying that there is no requirement to speak a specific language on campus.
Update: Here’s the letter from Mary E. Klotman, Dean of School of Medicine. “I have asked the university’s Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) to conduct a thorough review of the Master’s of Biostatistics Program…”pic.twitter.com/Z8JksiJywU
— (@siruihua) January 27, 2019
“To be clear: there is absolutely no restriction or limitation on the language you use to converse or communicate with each other. Your career opportunities and recommendations will not in any way be influenced by the language you use outside the classroom. And your privacy will always be protected,” said Klotman.
Klotman also added, “Dr. Neely has asked to step down as director of graduate studies for the master’s program effective immediately and will be replaced by an interim DGS to be named shortly.”
While she has been removed from the directorship, she is still an assistant professor. A full review of the School of Medicine program is underway according to the Duke Chronicle.
Image by Tjcalboy [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
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