The GOP congressman can’t stop gushing over Austria’s far-right party that was founded by a former Nazi SS officer.
Since a gunman who expressed his hatred for Jewish people on social media shot and killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is under renewed scrutiny for his ties to neo–Nazi groups.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that during a trip to Europe that was funded by a Holocaust memorial group, Republicans’ resident white supremacist met with members of Austria’s Freedom Party, a far-right party founded by a former Nazi SS officer.
The Post caught up with King on the campaign trail in Iowa following Saturday’s mass shooting. The GOP congressman brushed aside concerns about his anti-Semitism, claiming that groups he associates with are more accurately described as “far-right” than neo-Nazi.
Specifically citing Austria’s Freedom Party, the Iowa Republican said:
“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans.”
As the Post reported, Austria’s Freedom Party is “now led by Heinz-Christian Strache, who was active in neo-Nazi circles as a youth.” Despite the party insisting it has abandoned Nazi ideology, in February, a top official in the party was forced to resign after it was revealed that he used to lead a fraternity that used a songbook that joked about murdering Jewish people.
King recently endorsed a far-right Toronto mayoral candidate who once promoted a book calling for the “elimination” of Jewish people.
The GOP lawmaker, who has served in Congress since 2003, tweeted “we can’t restore our civilization with someone else’s babies” in March 2017. A year earlier, he implied that white people had contributed more to society than “any other subgroup.”
Though Iowa Republicans have criticized King’s rhetoric, GOP leadership has mostly stayed silent about his pattern of promoting racist propaganda.