Congressman Steve King, who over the weekend endorsed a far-right “Dutch Trump” politician, has quickly emerged as the European nationalist and anti-immigrant far-right’s best friend in Congress. He also has a soft spot for authoritarians and human-rights abusers, so long as they violently crackdown on Islamists.
The congressman from Iowa is one of Capitol Hill’s biggest nativist hawk who has long represented a conservative hard-line on immigration in the House. King has a well-documented history of delivering unapologetic xenophobic salvos targeting immigrants, Muslims, and ethnic “sub-groups.”
On Sunday, King made news for tweeting out his endorsement of Geert Wilders, leader of the right-wing Party for Freedom who is just days away from his possible election as prime minister of the Netherlands.
"Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny," King posted to Twitter. "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."
King has also dubbed Wilders the “world's leading voice against Jihad,” and tweeted in April 2015 that “Geert Wilders speaking now before Members of Congress & national security experts. Islam will not assimilate. Western culture is superior.”
Outraged reactions from activists and party officials to King’s most recent pro-Wilders tweet included from within his own party.
Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of Iowa’s Republican Party, distanced himself from King’s tweet, saying in a statement: "First of all, I do not agree with Congressman King’s statement. We are a nation of immigrants, and diversity is the strength of any nation and any community.”
Wilders has been one of candidate and now president Donald Trump’s most prominent boosters overseas, and has taken extreme positions including calling for banning the Quran in his country. Wilders was an invited guest at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, last year, where he was also a headlining speaker at Breitbart’s “Gays for Trump” after-hours party and art show. The Dutch politician also contributed columns to the website Breitbart, which was run by Steve Bannon, Trump’s White House chief strategist who has a strong affinity for helping to build an international and western-Europe nationalist ultra-right-wing.
King’s office did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for an interview or comment. But on Monday morning, the Republican congressman appeared on CNN to defend his nativist, pro- “Western civilization” views and tweet, as he always does. In doing so, he refused to say on-air that Muslim Americans are equal to German Americans in their usefulness to society.
“Individuals will contribute differently, not equally to this civilization and society,” he said when pressed. “Certain groups of people will do more from a productive side than other groups of people will.”
King is clearly no stranger to linking arms with extreme voices abroad, and the affections are absolutely mutual. King’s verified Twitter feed is littered with photos of him and far-right leaders from around the western world.
“Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end,” King tweeted—in September—with a photo of him smiling alongside and summiting with Wilders and Frauke Petry, far-right leader of the party Alternative for Germany.
Early last year, Petry famously said that German police should “if necessary” shoot at migrants attempting to enter her country illegally. King, for his part, wished Petry a “successful vote” in his tweet.
On top of his long-running Wilders fan-boying, King has met multiple times with Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, including late last year in her first public meeting with a United States elected official. Shortly after Trump’s election in November, King tweeted that Trump’s “victory is for nationalism, sovereignty, & all of Western Civilization [including] Marine Le Pen of France.”
In January, two days before Trump’s inauguration, King met with a leadership delegation from Austria’s right-wing populist Freedom Party that was “here to celebrate Trump inauguration,” according to King’s Twitter account. The Austrian political party has the added baggage of being founded by Nazis. In January, King’s office would not comment to The Daily Beast on that meeting, either.
If all that wasn’t enough, in late 2013 King traveled to Cairo, Egypt to praise and publicly support Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, leader of the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected president and Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed Morsi. King’s conservative congressional delegation held a news conference in solidarity with the military strongman, during which they lovingly compared the general to George Washington.
Sisi’s armed forces were responsible for a brutal, trigger-happy crackdown on Brotherhood members and supporters following the 2013 coup, and the new Egyptian ruler began his authoritarian kick of going after the press and jailing the opposition. Additionally, in an apparent effort to prove that his regime is even more “Islamic” than the Islamists he deposed, Sisi and his government presided over a campaign of prosecution, persecution, and public shaming of LGBT Egyptians.So long as you line up with King’s hard-right positions on immigrants, Muslims, and terrorism, you can find a loyal friend, more than willing to accept your odious views and vicious actions, in Rep. Steven King.