Iowa State Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) called for the resignation of Iowa Congressman Steve King Monday, March 13. King has been under fire for a Sunday, March 12 tweet in support of far-right Dutch candidate Geert Wilders that critics say was racist.
“This should be the bright red line that Congressman King has now crossed … It is incumbent upon every Iowan, and especially Iowa Republicans, to stand up and tell him it is time for him to resign,” Hogg said on the State Senate floor Monday night.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked King to clarify his statements Monday on “New Day.”
“I meant exactly what I said,” King said in the interview. He denied that his views are racist, and said his concerns are about preserving Western civilization in America. “I’d like to see an America that’s just so homogeneous that we look a lot the same,” King said in the interview.
King has drawn praise from Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute. Spencer, who coined the term alt-right, denied that he is a white supremacist in a December 2016 CNN interview. In that same interview, Spencer also said, “Only white people can support what we call Western civilization.”
Former KKK leader David Duke tweeted support for King, writing “sanity reigns supreme in Iowa’s 4th congressional district.”
In Iowa, many were less supportive. Chair of the Iowa GOP Jeff Kaufmann issued a press release Monday, March 13, saying “I do not agree with Congressman King’s statement. We are a nation of immigrants, and diversity is the strength of any nation and any community. Regarding David Duke, his words and sentiments are absolute garbage. He is not welcome in our wonderful state.”
Rep. Dave Loebsack (D) called King an “embarrassment to the state of Iowa” on WQAD News Monday. Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Rep. David Young have also said they disagree with King’s words, but have not called for his resignation.
“Steve King is Steve King. We all know that,” Branstad said in his weekly news conference Monday morning. “From time to time, he just says things that we just don’t agree with, and we have always been honest about that. We have worked with him on a lot of things.”
The White House was silent on the matter until a Tuesday press conference. “The president believes that this is not a point of view that he shares. He believes he’s the president for all Americans, and so I’ll leave it at that,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
In his speech Monday, Hogg said that King has gone too far.
“It is not enough to disagree with somebody who says our civilization doesn’t depend on somebody else’s babies. That is fundamentally contrary to what Iowa and the United States of America is about, and … it has happened time and time and time again,” Hogg said.