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Is Steve King's rhetoric endorsed by Trump? Or is it just born in a similar place?


Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) during a hearing on Capitol Hill. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

The pattern has now become so well established for Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that it hardly requires an articulation for anyone who has paid attention to American politics in the past ten years. The king's long-standing suspicion of immigration has in recent years prevented an occasional open embrace of white supremacy and rhetoric.

For those who are interested in a refresher course, here is an overview of King's relevant comments and promotions up to and including June, an overview that is nevertheless heavily outdated. For example, it does not contain a newspaper that has regularly endorsed King's House's candidatures that were decisive last year for the fact that he could no longer ignore his & # 39; worries & # 39; about his rhetoric. To be approval of a white nationalist political candidate in Canada who held her position as & # 39; Pro Western Civilization & # 39; it was not, the newspaper wrote, "the first time King was bound by such words of intolerant ugliness by his words or actions."

That is an understatement. It was not the last. A little over a week after the newspaper had approved his opponent, King migrants seemed to be referring to "dirty" during a campaign event.

Earlier this week, the New York Times published an interview with King in which he rhetorically asked: "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization – how was that language insulting? Why was I in lessons to teach me about the merits of our history and our civilization? "

It was not the first time that King's recurring insistence that he was only concerned about Western culture & # 39; – contrary to, let's say, the dilution of the white race – became confused with a racial-based defense. There was, for example, his appearance at MSNBC during the Republican convention, when he punished a panel member for disdaining old white people, asking, "Where else has another subgroup of people contributed more to civilization?"

Several Republican leaders, including British minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Subsequently condemned King's remarks to the Times.

"Steve's language is reckless, wrong and has no place in our society," he said in a statement. "The Declaration of Independence states that" all people are created equal. "That is a fact, it is self-evident." Such criticism of party leadership is unusual.

After the article was published, King hurried away from the implications of his question, as he has done so often.

"I reject" the labels of white nationalism and white supremacy, he wrote in a statement, "and the evil ideology they define." He is not a racist, he stood on the who-knows-how-manyth time, but "Just a Nationalist." His concern was not white people, it is just that he is "a proponent of the values ​​of Western civilization".

And that intercession manifests itself in itself tacit approval of maintaining white racial purity and repeatedly humiliating immigrants to the United States in terms that often suggest that they are inherently dangerous.

If that last point sounds particularly familiar, it should do that. President Trump's rhetoric on immigration has often overlapped with King's, to the point that the president occasionally quoted an imaginary figure for deaths caused by undocumented immigrants who had their origins in poor analyzes published by King Ten years ago. At an Oval Office meeting in 2017, King told the Times, the Congressman responded to Trump's bravery about having huge sums of money for King, saying he'd tested your immigration policy in the market for fourteen years, and that should be worth something.

Trump's rhetoric about the danger of illegally crossing the border with Mexico, his remarks about drugs entering the United States, are indeed the things that King argued long before Trump put forward his position as candidate. Trump launched his campaign with that rhetoric and the loyal constituency that embraced him as soon as those comments became national, helped him strengthen his nomination.

It is interesting that in recent years – during a period when Trump's comments are in the spotlight – king has so often drawn attention to his proximity to white supremacists and white nationalist rhetoric. Most Americans said in a poll held in July that they believed Trump had encouraged racialists to express their views. Is King more willing to take his views out of the shadows, because Trump gives him the space to do that?

There is another non-exclusive possibility: both Trump and King are driven by a kind of nativist or racist thought that was largely destroyed in national politics.

We have repeatedly seen that the race was an important factor in Trump's victory, including as an explanation for the big gap in 2016's voting choice through education. That is not surprising, given the frequent calls to racing that included Trump's campaign. As president he was criticized for his treatment of the subject, including, most shamefully, his reaction to the murder of an anti-racist Protestant in Virginia in 2017. In polls, many or most Americans see him as racist.

Trump did not create the image of immigration that he consistently presents; he pushed it away. His political views generally reflect the conservative media he consumes. As Trump prepared for his presidential run in 2014 and 2015, racing and immigration were the focus of sites such as Breitbart, with both the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the increase of unaccompanied minors seeking refuge in the United States. States from Central America. The political success of Trump is largely due to his willingness to say the things that were said on Fox News, rather than the things that were said among members of the Republican House caucus.

King has indeed tested Trump's immigration tactics on the market, but only in the microcosm. It was already tested on the market by the media that Trump used, and it was clear (at least in hindsight) that an audience existed as a result.

The rise of race and immigration to the national level, including the views of King, is to a large extent a function of the inhabitant of the White House as someone whose views on the subjects are much more in line with the skeptics of king, immigration. and – at least some cases – white nationalists than even more traditional Republican politicians. For what it's worth, prominent white nationalists on Twitter such as Richard Spencer have not called his case. Why? Because he fell back on the implications of the question he asked in the interview with the Times.

King, for his part, recognizes that his rhetoric reflects an important part of the base of his party. In one of the incidents that took place after our summary of June, King defended that he had participated in an interview with members of a harsh Austrian political party with historical ties to the Nazis – an interview in which he questioned the value of diversity. suggested.

The Freedom Party was not a big deal, he suggested. "If they were to push America on the platform they were pushing, they would be republicans," he told The Washington Post.

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