Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is being rapidly abandoned by corporate donors and members of the GOP over his continued support for white nationalists and their rhetoric, but at least one colleague is sticking by the congressman: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called King on Wednesday to express his support, Bloomberg first reported.
At a rally in Midland, Texas, on Wednesday, Cruz told reporters King’s comments and actions were “disappointing,” but stopped short of adding his voice to the chorus of GOP members and donors condemning the congressman.
“He’s saying and doing things that are dividing us, that are pulling us apart. We need to be finding ways to come together,” Cruz said. “This is a very polarized time and I do think tone and rhetoric matter. The way you address issues matter.”
King’s embrace of white nationalist rhetoric has long been ignored by his colleagues; now, in the wake of a massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue, it has come under increased scrutiny. His colleague,Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) — head of the National Republican Congressional Committee — condemned King on Twitter, calling his recent “comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate.”
Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate. We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.
— Steve Stivers (@RepSteveStivers) October 30, 2018
King, the Iowa congressman, who for many years displayed a Confederate flag on his desk, recently endorsed white nationalist Faith Goldy for mayor of Toronto on Twitter, using the dog-whistle descriptors “Pro Western Civilization and a fighter for our values.”
In 2016, King endorsed Sen.Ted Cruz’s bid for president. Cruz later thanked him for the favor by naming King national co-chair of his presidential campaign. Catherine Frazier, spokeswoman for the Ted Cruz for Senate campaign, confirmed to Rolling Stone the senator called King on Wednesday, and said Cruz told him “the same thing he told press earlier that day.”
Cruz’s critique of King was significantly softer than that expressed by some of his colleagues. The NRCC is no longer providing financial support to defend King’s seat. (His Democratic challenger, J.D. Scholten is polling just one point behind King in a race that would normally be safe for Republicans.) Intel, Purina and Land O’Lakes have also announced they will cease support for King’s campaign.