Steve King gets standing ovation in first townhall after misconstrued words in NY Times interview

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, received a standing ovation at the first public event he has held since a New York Times article painted him as a white supremacist.

Iowans see the man they elected nine times to represent them in Congress in a far different light than the New York Times, which King insisted took his words out of context in an ill-advised interview that sparked major controversy — King realizes the newspaper is no friend of his and told those gathered at a town hall meeting in his district over the weekend that he never should have agreed to the interview.

“It is stunning and astonishing to me that four words in a N.Y. Times quote can outweigh 20-some years of public service, 20-some years of giving you my word every day,” he told his constituents. “And not one soul has stood up and said I have ever lied to you or misrepresented anything. Not one soul has stood up and said Steve King has ever acted in a racist fashion, that he ever discriminated against anybody.”

 

The Times quoted King as stating: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

The article prompted an uproar, resulting in King being rebuked in the Democrat-led House on a vote of 424-1. He was also denied any committee assignments leaders of his own party.

A staunch, unabashed conservative who doesn’t mince his words, King has also long been unpopular with political class Republicans, dating all the way back to the John Boehner years.

The lawmaker said his comment asking when “that language” became offensive was in direct reference to “Western civilization.” The liberal media has attacked King in the past for defending Western civilization, distorting his words to fit their political agenda.

“They are denigrating Western Civilization today,” King told the room. “And if they can break down Western Civilization and turn it into the scourge of history, then our freedom is gone.”

There was a “relatively large media contingent” at Saturday’s meeting, according to the New York Post.

And while it doesn’t take much imagination to suspect that they were just waiting for the audience to turn on King, the media was set for disappointment.

“[N]one of the constituents who were on hand said anything critical about the controversy and a couple expressed their support, telling King they think he’s doing a great job,” The Post reported. “In the few instances in which King’s history of insensitive comments and his most recent statements arose, the audience seemed supportive, and they stood twice during the gathering to applaud him.

The questions were screened and selected before the event began, which is common with town halls of this nature.

The congressman responded to The Post’s article on Twitter, saying: “Iowans know truth from Leftist fiction.”

Of the committee assignments he’s being denied, King said he’s concerned about his seat on the Judiciary Committee, which he has held for 16 years, according to Sioux City Journal.

With the likelihood the Democrat-controlled committee will investigate the Trump administration or attempt impeachment, King said: “That’s where they will miss me, and I regret that.”

 

Tom Tillison

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