Steve King is a white nationalist. This isn’t an opinion so much as it is a well-known fact—one that King, an Iowa Republican who is running against Democrat J.D. Scholten to retain his seat in Congress, has worked incredibly hard to remind voters of at every turn.
He planted a Confederate flag on his desk in Iowa; he has consistently warned of repopulating America with “somebody else’s babies,” both in tweets and in a September interview with a far-right Austrian newspaper; and most recently, King endorsed Faith Goldy, a white nationalist running for office in Canada who warns of white genocide. This is a man who knows precisely what his goals are in American politics and puts them out there in the open for everyone to see.
The problem isn’t that nobody is taking notice. Lots of people have raised hell; even the Weekly Standard went after King over his backing of Goldy. It’s that the people who have the most power over King’s continued presence in Congress won’t say shit about it, mainly because they don’t care.
Sludge reported Tuesday evening that it had reached out to all the companies behind the 23 PACs that had already donated more than $2,000 to King’s current re-election campaign to ask them whether they were on board with King’s white nationalist views. Among the companies were AT&T, Valero, Koch Industries, and the American Bankers Association, none of whom responded. Only one company, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, opted to offer a comment, and its display of cognitive dissonance might be the most honest encapsulation of this entire mess (emphasis mine):
“Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s company-affiliated political action committee has donated to Rep. King’s re-election campaign in recognition of shared renewable energy policy goals, which help protect the environment and advance a sustainable energy future for our customers,” said Jessi Strawn, director of corporate communications at Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which is based in De Moines, Iowa and operates MidAmerican Energy Company, an Iowa utility. “We do not always agree with every position taken by the candidates we support.”
This largely follows the response to King from leaders in Congress, who have issued vague statements of anti-Nazism though gritted teeth. Take, for instance, this milquetoast Paul Ryan statement from back in June, when King refused to delete a retweet of a Nazi sympathizer:
Following King’s endorsement of Goldy, not a single one of the leading House Republicans—Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, and Steve Scalise—responded to requests for comment from the Washington Post. And why would they? After all, this is a country where facsimiles of Nazi planes land on the damn highway, where the President openly says, “I’m a nationalist” and receives a roaring round of applause, and where his personal lawyer beams while he stands next to an out-and-out white nationalist.
I’m not saying you should be shocked by any of this, because it really is nothing new. I just wish that it wasn’t so fucking easy.