In heat of argument, a congressman’s racism shows

On a day of opportunity for head scratching yesterday, few itches were as pronounced at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland as Iowa Rep. Steve King’s ill-advised trip into history.

King spoke on MSNBC as part of a panel and when the question turned to the demographic makeup of convention delegates, he took Esquire writer Charles Pierce’s bait.

“If you’re really optimistic, you can say this was the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face,” Pierce said.

That’s when Rep. King unloaded.

“This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. 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 are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

It was a moment of high fury — the kind where people have a habit of saying what they really mean.

And so MSNBC’s moderator, Chris Hayes, took a break.

“I’m kind of shaken from that. Because that was just in-my-face racism,” reporter April Ryan, another panelist, said on Periscope after the fray.

King is the congressman who filed legislation to block the Treasury Department’s plan to honor abolitionist Harriet Tubman by putting her image on the $20 bill.

For the record, Quartz indulged King by answering his question.

time bombs
the seismograph
the compass
just-in-time manufacturing
CD players
MP3 players
lithium ion batteries
martial arts
instant noodles
punk futurism
futures markets

Fortunately for King and the party that’s sought to distance itself from the white supremacists who’ve endorsed Donald Trump, most commentators at the convention are consumed instead today with a few lines Trump’s wife’s writers cribbed from Michelle Obama’s previous convention speech.

Related: America and White Cultural Superiority: Representative Steve King (Huffington Post)

  • jon
  • Rob

    Maybe King mis-spoke, and meant to say that no one has contributed more to the decline of civilization than white people.

  • Gary F

    Sorry but I couldn’t find a non-Facebook link to this, but watch to the end.

    Ben Carson has a great answer to this guy.

  • MikeB

    By a sitting member of Congress. Someone who writes laws and votes on laws.

    • jon

      You must have congress confused with some other branch of government.

      Congress is the group of people who vote to repeal Obamacare and have hearings about Hillary Clinton, but not have hearings about Merrick Garland.

      If their job was actually to write and pass laws, surely some one would have actually made them do that… right?


      • Veronica

        In King’s defense, it’s the Senate’s job to confirm Supreme Court justices.

  • Angry Jonny

    I think he missed “human civilization”.

  • wjc

    Rep. King: In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny: What a maroon!

    About the cribbing: you’d think the speech writers would at least plagiarize from a Republican. The worst part was that they were first saying that Ms. Trump wrote the speech mostly herself, but then when the plagiarism was discovered, the tune changed.

  • kevins

    Steve King is rigid and at times irrational, but folks keep voting for him. He is a side effect of a democratic system.

    • Rob

      a side effect of jerrymandering, more likely.

      • Brian

        You’d be hard pressed to make a district in western IA that wouldn’t re-elect him. Still embarrassing he’s in congress, but not really jerrymandering.

        • Jeff

          I think how it works is that he has to appeal to the 10% of eligible voters who show up for the Republican primary.

      • Dan

        There are only four congressional districts in the state.

        There are much fishier-looking district maps than Iowa’s… not sure which counties you could switch around that would affect the 4th’s Cook PVI or racial demographics very much.

  • Dan

    Sounds like a Pat Buchanan interview

  • lindblomeagles

    In all seriousness, are we really surprised a racist statement like this came from a member of the Republican Party in the 21st Century? And if we are, since they’ve been making statements like this for the past 20 years, why are we surprised? While I am on the subject, could somebody PLEASE explain to me why some whites, after making a racist comment, get angry when their comment is called a racist comment if their racism is what they truly believe and feel?

  • The Iowa Rep who has the Confederate flag on his desk doesn’t have a grasp on history? I’m shocked.

    • lindblomeagles

      Next, Congressman King will be telling us Iowa wanted to help the Confederate Army, but couldn’t because of the Missouri Compromise.

  • Mike Worcester

    I’m shocked that anyone is shocked by Rep. King’s statements (esp. if one has followed his career).

  • ZeitAlors

    The panel was saying, with plenty of contempt and hostility, that this would be the last GOP convention with lots of white people. King responded by saying he was sick of the constant sneering at white people and acting as if whites’ contributions to the world were nothing but evil. And that is supposed to be white supremacism?!?!

    What is staggeringly obvious in the liberal media’s unhinged response to this kerfuffle is just how much the left in America hates white people and how obsessed they are with hammering that hate into the American people. The Democratic Party has morphed into an anti-white hate party and the media support and promote that stance at every opportunity. Anti-white hate has become the leading, foundational value of the American left and the Democratic Party.

    Powered flight, the internet, computers and computer languages, public sanitation, cars, phones – white people DID INVENT ALL OF THOSE THINGS! And more. For *&^%’s sake, get over it.

    This constant drumbeat from the left of “White people are evil monsters who’ve never done anything good” is a warped lie and is not exactly healing the country either.

    • Rob

      Gimme some of what you’re smokin’. I’m a white leftist, and I can tell you that I don’t hate white people who aren’t leftists. I do hate white people who are clueless about the legacy of slavery and racism that continues to infect our country, and how it continues to profoundly disadvantage people of color.
      Tell you what – go invent something wonderful – like a time machine that will erase lynching, redlining and Jim Crow laws – and report back to us.

    • >>how much the left in America hates white people<>Anti-white hate has become the leading, foundational value of the American left and the Democratic Party.<<


      Oh wait, you're serious?

      Let me laugh harder…

  • Postal Customer

    Chris Hayes should have just let him talk. King could have dug his own grave. But that’s incompatible with the demands of Hayes’s employer.

    “We’ll have to leave it there”