Iowa Republican Steve King, who recently won re-election to the House of Representatives despite growing attention for his views that many describe as "white nationalist" or simply "racist," was the subject of a November 6 report by The Weekly Standard, which claimed that King had compared Mexican immigrants to "dirt." King claimed the paper was lying. Fortunately, they had the tapes.
Following the Standard's report, King claimed the story was completely fabricated, saying the paper had joined Huffpost "at the bottom of the lying journalistic gutter. On Twitter, he dared the paper to release the so-called "tapes," saying:
"Just release the full tape. Leftists lies exist without original sources because they are false and manufactured accusations."
Rachael @RachaelBL Just release the full tape. Leftists lies exist without original sources because they are false… https://t.co/5IWq0VSFvq— Steve King (@Steve King)1541864496.0
Perhaps King thought The Weekly Standard had run the story based on anonymous sources alone. He was sadly mistaken. On Saturday, Editor-in-Chief Stephen Hayes released as statement saying "We stand by the story," and posted this video to YouTube:
Steve King Audio youtu.be
The recording was made during a campaign stop on November fifth. While King makes small talk with supporters in a restaurant, he begins speaking about his homegrown jalapeño peppers. Things take a far more racist turn from there:
"KING: I raised a bunch this year, and they didn't have enough bite. So I guess I'm going to have to go get some dirt from Mexico to grow the next batch.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Trust me, it's on its way.
KING: Well, yeah, there's plenty of dirt. It's coming from West Coast, too, and a lot of other places, besides. This is the most dirt we've ever seen."
Proud of @weeklystandard reporters who report accurately and editors who stand behind them. https://t.co/CWNTh4sORR— Bill Kristol (@Bill Kristol)1542056802.0
In the words of The Weekly Gazette, which is regarded as a conservative magazine:
"Iowa does have a topsoil depletion problem, but it's hard to imagine that the audience and King were discussing the shipment of soil from out of country or from California."
Twitter was overjoyed that the Gazette called King's bluff:
@Newsweek Here’s the test @GOP, @HouseGOP, @SenateGOP, @realDonaldTrump: Do you support White Nationalism or not? S… https://t.co/lO2mpgfw3D— 🅿️™️Ⓜ️ (@🅿️™️Ⓜ️)1542008976.0
@JoyAnnReid Oh Lordy, I hope there are tapes...and there were!!!— Jeff Giles (@Jeff Giles)1542063439.0
@NPR I think it’s important to make the clarification that he didn’t compare immigrants to dirt. He referred to them *as* dirt.— Warren Krettek (@Warren Krettek)1542128329.0
@NPR Oh Lordy! There are tapes!— Chris Freeman (@Chris Freeman)1542126884.0
Sarah Stevens, King's chief of staff, has claimed that King was, in fact, comparing the "leftist media" to dirt, not immigrants. However, an editors note on the Gazette article reads:
"We quoted Representative King at length, on purpose, to provide readers with all of the context for his remarks. Steve King never mentions the media in his remarks. To claim he was referring to the media when he worried about 'dirt' coming from Mexico is absurd."
The Weekly Standard remains, proudly, a reporting-driven, conservative journal of opinion. @RubensteinAdam is a gre… https://t.co/MmnyJtakG1— Stephen Hayes (@Stephen Hayes)1541809876.0
King's bigoted views are one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington. Last year, on Twitter, he said the following:
"We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."
He later defended that statement to the press. King has also taken interviews with Austria's Freedom Party, "which was founded by a former Nazi officer," wherein he spoke about the "decline of Western civilization" brought on by the replacement of "white Europeans" with immigrants.
@NPR I can't believe Iowans reelected him.— del 🗿🗒✂️ (@del 🗿🗒✂️)1542126359.0
@thinkprogress I love receipts— Petty Pablo (@Petty Pablo)1541951289.0
Many Congresspeople, even Republicans, have begun distancing themselves from King. His fringe, often derogatory views towards other races have started to gain national notice in the wake of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Shooting.
@SteveKingIA Nazis called Jews "dreck". You call immigrants "dirt". One is a direct translation of the other. It's… https://t.co/1yfDQJ02CU— Mike Redler (@Mike Redler)1542133868.0
Steve King will be up for election in two years, at which point Iowans will once again get the chance to decide whether they want a man who thinks of Mexican immigrants as "dirt" should be representing them in Washington.