DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday said she would keep U.S. Rep. Steve King involved in her gubernatorial campaign while condemning a comment he made on Twitter that criticized diversity.
Reynolds made her comments after Iowa Democrats called on her to drop King as a state co-chair in her campaign after he tweeted Friday, “Diversity is not our strength” along with an article describing anti-immigration views from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The tweet included a comment that King attributed to Orban that says, “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.”
King later added another tweet: “Assimilation has become a dirty word to the multiculturalist Left. Assimilation, not diversity, is our American strength.”
Reynolds told reporters during a news conference in Des Moines on Tuesday that she can disagree with the conservative Republican congressman from Iowa even while he remains involved in her campaign. Reynolds pointed out she has multiple people serving in the role, including U.S. Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst.
“I’m not going to agree with everything that they have to say, and I can certainly make it known when I don’t agree with a comment that they made,” she said. “But I also want to be able to work with them on really important issues for Iowans.”
As far as King’s comments, Reynolds said: “I don’t believe that that’s reflective of Iowa values. I believe that diversity has made this state and this country stronger.”
Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price criticized Reynold’s decision.
“By keeping Steve King on her campaign team, Kim Reynolds is sending the message to all Iowans that she thinks his unpatriotic ideology is OK as long as it helps her politically,” he said.
A handful of gubernatorial candidates on Tuesday also criticized Reynolds, who is seeking a four-year term as governor next year. She is serving the remaining term of Republican former Gov. Terry Branstad, who stepped down in May to become U.S. ambassador to China.
Reynolds announced King as a state co-chair on Nov. 1, although he had been criticized for previous tweets, including one that said, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” and offered support for a far-right Dutch politician who opposes immigration. When she appointed King, Reynolds was quoted in a campaign press release as saying he “is a strong defender of freedom and our conservative values.”