Grassley had nothing but praise, though, for his colleague Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Monday. The chairman of the senate judiciary committee issued a hearty video endorsement for the embattled congressman just a few hours after King expressed hope Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor would “elope to Cuba.”
Chuck Grassley gives a number of reasons why Steve King has earned his vote and deserves your vote. pic.twitter.com/8067DblXHl
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) November 6, 2018
King — who recently refused to say whether or not he identified as a white supremacist — has lost the support of his hometown newspaper, several corporate donors (including Land O’Lakes, Intel and Purina) and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which stopped backing him after its chairman criticized King on Twitter.
But he’s still got Grassley on his side.
“Iowa needs Steve King in Congress. I also need Steve King in Congress. I feel I do a good job of representing Iowans, and so often I have found Steve King to be such an ally — an ally that I need in the other body, called the House of Representatives,” Grassley says in the clip.
Grassley cited King’s support for ethanol and wind energy, among other issues, as a reason voters in Iowa should support the congressman who has warmly embraced white nationalist rhetoric on Twitter and elsewhere.
“All these things are important to Iowans and Iowans need him because his first concern is representing Iowans,” Grassley says in the video.
Grassley’s continued support is emblematic of a growing comfort among with xenophobic and anti-Semitic rhetoric among Republicans that, even if it was always there, has become more obvious under Trump.
Grassley, himself, was accused of anti-Semitism after he lent credence the conspiracy theory that billionaire progressive donor George Soros paid protesters to disrupt the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmations hearings on Fox News. (The president tweeted the conspiracy less than an hour and half later.) King also continues to enjoy the support of Sen. Ted Cruz. (The Iowa congressman, who recently endorsed a white nationalist running for mayor of Toronto, co-chaired Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.)