Republican Rep. Steve King is facing criticism for his endorsement this week of a white-nationalist mayoral candidate in Canada, with a major conservative news outlet publishing a piece describing King as “America’s most deplorable congressman.”
But the top three House Republicans — Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) — did not respond to requests for comment on King’s endorsement.
The Iowa lawmaker, who has long been known for his inflammatory rhetoric on immigration and race, tweeted on Tuesday in support of Faith Goldy, a former reporter for the far-right Canadian news site the Rebel who is running in Toronto’s Oct. 22 mayoral election.
“Faith Goldy, an excellent candidate for Toronto mayor, pro Rule of Law, pro Make Canada Safe Again, pro balanced budget, & . . . BEST of all, Pro Western Civilization and a fighter for our values. @FaithGoldy will not be silenced,” King tweeted.
Goldy was fired from her job at the Rebel after she appeared on a podcast produced by the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer during last year’s white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville. She has also questioned whether immigration is contributing to a “white genocide” in Canada and earlier this year promoted a 1936 book by a Romanian fascist who denounced “the Jewish menace” and “the parasitism of the Jews.” Goldy later walked back her recommendation, claiming that she had endorsed the book before she was aware of its entire contents.
Goldy also recently posted photos of herself with former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is currently President Trump’s personal attorney.
In a post for the Weekly Standard published Wednesday, the magazine’s assistant opinion editor, Adam Rubenstein, called King “an embarrassment to the GOP and to America” and said that his endorsement of Goldy was “unsurprising.”
“King and Goldy are both animated by the same brand of race-based identity-politics that consumes the alt-right,” Rubenstein wrote. “King’s focus on race and ethnicity is so consuming that it has become the core of his politics.” He concluded by questioning why King still has a seat in Congress.
King’s Democratic opponent, J.D. Scholten, responded to King’s endorsement by blasting the lawmaker in a tweet.
“Once again, Steve King spends more time supporting far-right leaders in other countries than he does focusing on the needs of the people of our district,” Scholten said.
The episode is far from the first time that King has come under scrutiny for his embrace of extremist figures.
King earlier this year stirred controversy when he refused to delete a retweet of a message by Mark Collett, a self-described “Nazi sympathizer” and admirer of Hitler’s Germany. In a CNN appearance in June, King spent five minutes explaining why he would not delete his retweet of Collett.
House Republican leaders initially did not respond to King’s retweet. The lawmaker’s actions eventually prompted a rebuke from Ryan’s spokeswoman, who told the Daily Beast that the speaker “has said many times that Nazis have no place in our politics, and clearly members should not engage with anyone promoting hate.”
Scalise also weighed in, urging lawmakers “to be vocal in speaking out” against neo-Nazism and Holocaust denial.
King also last year was widely repudiated after he declared in a tweet that far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders was correct that “our civilization” cannot be restored “with somebody else’s babies” — a statement that earned him a scathing reproach from the Des Moines Register.
King, who was first elected to the House in 2002, cruised to reelection in 2016. His seat is ranked by the Cook Political Report as likely to stay in Republican hands in next month’s midterm elections.
King’s congressional office did not respond to a request for comment on his endorsement of Goldy.