In a world where the Never Trumpers are continually out for blood, the targeting of any and all Conservatives is never surprising. But when the recent ambush of Congressman Steve King by a New York Times reporter became a rallying point not only for wild-eyed liberals, but also for fellow Republicans, the story became one that was both shocking and deeply troubling. 

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

Only that is not what King said. Here is the real story:

In an interview on January 15 with radio host Simon Conway in King’s home state of Iowa, King told his side of the story:

Early one morning in January, King received an unexpected telephone call from Tripp Gabriel, whom the NY times calls a national correspondent and ‘journalist’. King explained to Conway’s listeners how Gabriel had ambushed him:

Gabriel told King that he wanted to write an article on “how my role in shaping immigration policy for the nation got into Donald Trump’s agenda and into the oval office.”  This was a story line that King said he was happy to see show up in the New York Times, so he continued with the interview.

What happened next should not have been a surprise. In the article published by the Times on January 10, Gabriel described King as “a 69-year-old former bulldozer operator with a combative manner, who has been elected nine times, [and] helped write the book on white identity politics that are ascendant in Mr. Trump’s Republican Party.” Most significantly, he mischaracterized a part of the interview and connected the two separate pieces of King’s remarks into a single quote.

King had been talking about white nationalism and white supremacy, and then stopped. He began a new thought with the question, “Western Civilization, how did that language become offensive?” He then went on to explain what he meant, but only the mis-connected quote made it into the article. Gabriel must have been elated to see how he could eliminate the pause, and quote him as saying, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”.

America’s Great Divide

We are now in a time in the American saga where the country is deeply divided. Conservatives, from the Democrats’ perspective, are not to be believed and are considered fair targets for the radical left. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, prior to his confirmation to the Supreme Court, was accused of sexual misconduct when he was a teenager, by a woman whose sworn testimony was later discredited for lack of any evidence or credibility. Kavanaugh nevertheless had to endure weeks of hysterical harassment by women of the left for something he never did.

Likewise, Conservatives in and outside of government have been harassed by the loony left at their homes, in restaurants, and even in their government offices, because of their Conservative positions and policies. Congresswoman Maxine Waters has made it clear to her followers that they should form crowds wherever they see Conservatives, harass them, and let them know, ”You are not welcome anymore, anywhere”. Senior White House administration officials were heckled at restaurants, denied service, and forced to leave. Florida’s Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi needed a police escort away from a movie theater after protesters harassed her in Tampa, and FoxNews commentator Tucker Carlson home was targeted by angry demonstrators. Several of his sponsors cancelled their contracts with Fox because of pressure from the left.

Free speech, it seems, is only for Democrats.

The Truth About Congressman King

Congressman Steve King is a strong supporter of conservative ideology and policy. He is outspoken and stands firmly on the principles in which he believes, including strong immigration policy and border security. “It’s true,” he says, “that like the Founding Fathers I am an advocate for Western civilization’s values, and that I profoundly believe that America is the greatest tangible expression of these ideals the world has ever seen . . . . Under any fair political definition, I am simply a nationalist.”

Those who know him understand that he stands on the right of the conservative spectrum. But they also know that he is not a racist. That is why it is so astounding and disappointing that he has been abandoned by his colleagues, who have thrown him to the wolves, without concern for his side of the story or the highly questionable source of the quote to which they took such umbrage.

Republican Perfidy

King’s fellow Republicans have disgraced themselves with outrageous comments that distance them from their colleague under fire, without any apparent concern that the source of the quote was notoriously unreliable.

Fellow Iowans Senator Joanie Ernst and Senator Chuck Grassley weighed in almost immediately. Ernst tweeted “I condemn Rep. Steve King’s comments on white supremacy; they are offensive and racist – and not representative of our state of Iowa.” And Grassley said, “I find it offensive to claim white supremacy. I will condemn it.” Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said King’s remarks were “abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse.” Republican, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, tweeted, “This is an embrace of racism, and it has no place in Congress or anywhere.” And on and on, as fellow Republicans jumped on the “distance yourself from King” bandwagon.

Steve King Speaks Plainly About the Controversy

In the radio interview with Simon Conway, the radio host asked if King was shocked at the criticism he had received from fellow Republicans. King responded, “I am surprised and shocked at all of those high profile Republicans who have criticized me. Every one of them has my cell number, and not one of them called me to find out what was my side of this story. Not one.”

In describing himself, he says he has always been “a Constitutional, Christian, fiscal and social Conservative . . . .  I’ve been holding these principles together for years . . . .  It is where my head and heart is.” This is no secret. He has been plain spoken since he entered public life decades ago.

King has now been relieved of all his committee positions, including farm, small business, and judiciary, and in considering his next moves, he is quite clear. In his own words, “In the short term, it will take a little reassessment. . . . What I have now is time; time to reset, time to refocus, time to do different work, maybe more work, and maybe much more effective work.”

Considering the Source

The New York Times is a notoriously liberal, anti-Trump publication that has been caught in lies and ‘fake news’ stories since before Donald Trump became President. Like many in the Democrat fold, the Times seems unable to grasp the fact that Trump won the election, that Clinton lost, and that the world goes on, as it should.

The targeting of Congressman King by the New York Times and the betrayal by his own colleagues is hardly surprising. It is simply the New York Times leaving real journalism far behind and doing its ugly, highly biased thing: lying, deceiving, and destroying the people with whom it disagrees. The betrayal of Congressmen King by his colleagues is, if anything, even worse – unexpected and reprehensible. They all know about the Times’ history of misreporting the news. They just chose to ignore it.

King’s Future

There are still lingering questions about some of King’s statements in the past, maybe misspoken and certainly misunderstood.

However the perfidy of his colleagues at a time when America is so deeply divided looks more like a rush to panic than sound political ideology. 

In a country that prides itself on freedom of expression and due process, Steve King has been denied both. It speaks poorly of where we are as a nation that we continue to abuse the freedoms that we have to deny others of the same freedoms.

Steve King says he has no plans to resign, only to work harder for the ideals and principles that he stands for. There is nothing wrong with his principles, even if in this moment of American history, they are controversial. He is not a racist. He believes in America, and he is determined to stay the course. We need people like him in the national discussion.  Image: Reuters/Brian Frank