Representative Steve Stivers (R., Ohio), who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, condemned Representative Steve King (R., Iowa) in a Tuesday tweet for appearing to sympathize with white-nationalist ideology.
Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate. We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.
— Steve Stivers (@RepSteveStivers) October 30, 2018
Stivers, as the head of the House GOP’s campaign arm, is the most prominent Republican to speak out against King, who has been scrutinized recently for endorsing a white-nationalist fringe candidate for mayor of Toronto and meeting with far-right Austrian politicians historically tied to the Nazi party.
King, who represents Iowa’s fourth district, defended his meeting with the Austrian politicians Saturday, telling the Washington Post the men he met with are ideologically aligned with the American Republican party.
“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans,” he said.
Two prominent corporate donors, Intel and Land O’Lakes, announced in recent days that they will no longer support King’s reelection. Jewish leaders in Iowa also condemned King over the weekend in the wake of the mass shooting that claimed eleven lives at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday.
“We are writing from the depths of our grief, in horror at the news of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh,” wrote Alan Steckman of the Adas Israel congregation in Mason City, Iowa and John Pleasants of the Ames Jewish Congregation, according to a draft of the letter viewed by the Daily Beast. “We feel we must speak out because our Congressional Representative, Steve King, is an enthusiastic crusader for the same types of abhorrent beliefs held by the Pittsburgh shooter.”
A number of prominent journalists and activists chastised Stivers on Twitter for delaying his condemnation of King until late in the election cycle.
👇🏻how brave: head of the @NRCC condemns white supremacist Steve King only after polls show King might lose.
— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) October 30, 2018
The Cook Political Report, a prominent elections forecaster, shifted its rating of the race between King and his Democratic challenger from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican” on Tuesday.