(JTA) — Ohio House Rep. Steve Stivers, the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, called some of Iowa Rep. Steve King’s recent comments “completely inappropriate.”
King has come under fire for recently endorsing Faith Goldy, a white nationalist who has associated with anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi websites, for mayor of Toronto. Last week, King spoke with a far-right Austrian publication and met with members of a far-right party that has Nazi roots, all while on a trip sponsored by a Holocaust education group. In June, he retweeted an infamous British neo-Nazi.
Republican party leadership had been virtually silent on King’s activity. Stivers is among the most prominent to call him out.
King has had a long history of making inflammatory comments, including saying that diversity is not a strength of American society and that for every high-achieving immigrant, “there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
In his interview with the Austrian publication, he appeared to endorse fears of a “Great Replacement,” a far-right notion that whites are being pushed out of their countries by non-white immigrants.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has been running ads sharply criticizing George Soros, the Jewish billionaire and donor to liberal causes. One shows him sitting behind a pile of money, and another ran days after a pipe bomb was sent to Soros’ New York home. Stivers defended the tactic in the wake of the bomb scares.
“That ad is a factual ad,” he said Sunday.
A poll released Tuesday has King, formerly seen as a safe bet to win reelection on Nov. 6, up a mere one point, with a margin of error of four points. His Democratic challenger is J.D. Scholten, a former professional baseball player.