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Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) talked over, got angry, and ejected a man who dared question him over his anti-immigrant ideologies at a public forum on Thursday.
At the Des Moines Partnership luncheon, the questioner compared King’s anti-immigration stances to those of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter. After the questioner read aloud quotes from the shooter, and then King, he began stating, “You and the shooter both share ideology that is…anti-immigration.”
Immediately, King began sternly lecturing from his podium, “No, do not associate me with that shooter. I knew you were an ambusher when you walked in the room. There will be no answers for that and you get no questions…”
As the man continued to ask his question, stating that he was going to ask King what “distinguishes” his ideology from the shooter, King talks over him, raising his voice, and saying it isn’t “tolerable to accuse me of being associated with a guy that shot 11 people.” He went on to assert that he’s been a supporter of Israel all his life.
The man proceeded to ask him why, if he didn’t have a white supremacist worldview, he traveled to Austria to meet with a white supremacist group, referencing a Washington Post piece published last week reporting that King met with “far-right Austrians on a trip funded by Holocaust memorial group.” (At the end of King’s Q&A session, he called the Post report “all lies.”)
King’s meltdown was uploaded to Twitter by an account for Democrat-run Iowa Starting line, where it’s received more than 1.5 million views. In tweets following the video, the account clarified that the man asking the question wasn’t a reporter, but an attendee from the public, though there was press present.
Lot of people asking - the questioner was a member of the public, not a reporter. Both public and press in the room. This was part of a candidate forum series in Des Moines with the Des Moines Partnership.— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) November 1, 2018
King followed the altercation by stating that “you have to address these things head on,” and that the man “came here to do exactly what they did.”
Steve King addresses his contentious exchange just a few moments ago. Says right before this clip “you have to address these things head on” pic.twitter.com/1ZirYOOQ0L— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) November 1, 2018
A better version of his reaction was uploaded by a local TV station to YouTube, where viewers can see King refusing to answer additional questions until the man has left the room, asking the “whoever is guarding this door” to escort him out.
King, however, seemed to think that his reaction—angry, incensed, a very familiar way men use to get their points across—was exemplary, seeing that he quote-tweeted the video as “Leftist Media Lies.” Though, again, the man doing the questioning wasn’t a reporter.
Leftist Media Lies have reached Peak Insanity and compared me to the evil Pittsburgh murderer of 11 Jews! Here is my reaction. https://t.co/ocOlnS0Zbg— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) November 1, 2018
King has built a career on not just an anti-immigration stance but on saying outright racist things, including: comparing immigrant children to drug mules and immigrants to hunting dogs, saying Obama’s election would incite terrorists, and asserting minorities have never contributed as much as white people to civilization. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?” he said in 2016.
Watch King’s entire meltdown at the forum below:
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.