Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is once again coming under fire, this time for questioning whether “white nationalism” is a bad thing, and a Nebraska author wants to tie Gov. Pete Ricketts to the controversial congressman.
Ricketts made campaign donations to King as recently as 2016.
And Ted Genoways — the author of a book about a family farmer that Ricketts criticized as divisive — noted on Twitter that in Federal Election Commission filings, Ricketts is listed as a self-employed farmer.
“The governor says that I’m out of touch with the people of Nebraska,” Genoways wrote. “Certainly, he doesn’t mean to imply that the people of Nebraska agree with a Congressman who sees no problem with advocating for white supremacy.”
Genoways and Ricketts have sparred since Ricketts declined to issue a gubernatorial proclamation for Genoways’ book, the Nebraska Center for the Book’s annual “One Book One Nebraska” selection.
Ricketts called Genoways a “political activist that really seemed to be out of touch.”
Genoways has written articles critical of the proposed Fremont Costco chicken processing plant, among other things. And the family featured in his book opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, which Ricketts supports.
Representatives for King did not immediately return emails.
Campaigns — not donors — are generally responsible for submitting accurate information on finance reportsto the FEC. A Ricketts spokesman pointed that out and said the governor does not claim to be a farmer.
The spokesman also said Ricketts had nothing to add to a statement from November, when Ricketts defended his support of King, saying through a spokesman that he disagrees with some things King has said but that “he believes northwestern Iowans deserve a conservative voice in Congress who will continue fighting for tax relief, a vibrant economy, and strong family values.”
King’s latest flap is over comments he made to the New York Times, though they are in line with previous comments he’s made about white supremacy.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said to the New York Times in an article published Thursday. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
King responded Friday: “Today, the New York Times is suggesting that I am an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy. 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.”
Still, the Times article led several leading Republicans to disavow him.
“When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post.
“Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said.”
King has already gained multiple 2020 primary challengers in his northwest Iowa district: One of them, Bret Richards, pledged to not embarrass the state.
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Correction: An earlier version of this story attributed a comment to the wrong primary challenger to Steve King.