A top House Republican on Tuesday condemned Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for his racist rhetoric and behavior online, saying in a tweet that “we must stand up to white supremacy and hate in all forms.”
The tweet from Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) is notable because his job as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee is to elect Republicans to the House. The Ohio congressman is now the highest-ranking GOP official to condemn King, an eight-term congressman who has been expressing racist beliefs in increasingly undisguised terms.
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
King’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The reprimand from the NRCC head comes at an awkward time given that King faces a plausible challenge in his rural Iowa district this year. A new poll released this week showed the anti-immigration firebrand and President Donald Trump ally with a 1-point lead over Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten just a week before the midterm election.
Scholten responded by applauding Stivers.
Last week I issued a challenge for at least one Republican elected official to condemn @SteveKingIA's recent behavior. I applaud @RepSteveStivers, Chair of the NRCC. Respect. #CountryOverPartyhttps://t.co/KCKTBlEDhr
— J.D. Scholten (@JDScholten) October 30, 2018
Top Republicans, including Stivers, turned a blind eye toward King and his increasingly racist rhetoric for months. In August, for example, King gave a shocking interview with an Austrian far-right propaganda site in which he discussed his belief in the superiority of European culture over others and pushed various white nationalist talking points. He also endorsed Faith Goldy, Toronto’s white supremacist candidate for mayor, earlier this month.
When I reached out to Paul Ryan’s office after King endorsed Faith Goldy I was told that was a “political question” they wouldn’t answer and was passed along to someone else (who never responded). This isn’t uncommon. https://t.co/LTLtBwyjLC
— Jane Coaston (@cjane87) October 30, 2018
King is also facing a growing backlash from the business community over his rhetoric. Dairy giant Land O’Lakes and technology corporation Intel became the latest companies to drop their support for the congressman this week.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.