Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, listens at the National Press Club in Washington on Feb. 8, 2011.
Cliff Owen/AP

Steve King does himself no favors with civil war speculation

As 2019 got underway, Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) approach to race finally started catching up with him. The far-right Iowan made some highly unfortunate comments about white nationalism and white supremacy, and soon, Republican leaders agreed to strip King of his committee assignments.

If the GOP congressman hopes to find his way back into party leaders’ good graces, he’ll need to avoid incidents like these.

Rep. Steve King posted a meme Saturday about a hypothetical civil war between “blue states” fighting over which bathroom to use and “red states” with trillions of bullets.

The post is an image of two figures composed of traditionally Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning states in fighting postures with text superimposed over top. The caption reads: “Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.”

“Wonder who would win?” the Iowa Republican wrote on Facebook.

Once the content started generating public attention, King removed it from his social-media pages – though the damage was already done.

On the surface, it’s a problem, to put it mildly, when a sitting federal lawmaker publicly speculates about a violent confrontation pitting half the United States against the other. Adding insult to injury was the transphobic message in King’s ridiculous argument.

But just below the surface, there was a more striking problem.

King’s home state of Iowa was featured in the image as a “blue” state – which means in the congressman’s vision of a second American civil war, his own constituents would be among the targets for the “red” states’ 8 trillion bullets.

There is some ambiguity, however, about the congressman’s geographic allegiances: though Iowa was part of the Union during the Civil War, a small Confederate flag has been photographed on King’s desk.

Roll Call’s report added that the far-right lawmaker has been lobbying his party’s leadership for weeks “to reinstate him to congressional committee posts.” King probably shouldn’t get his hopes up.