Rep. Steve King speaks with reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting, Oct. 4, 2013.
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Steve King’s accidental criticism of the GOP was unusually brutal

Updated

Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) ugly history on matters related to race, alas, is not new. What is new is the Iowa Republican’s latest efforts to add an international element to his portfolio.

Over the summer, for example, King promoted online content from a self-described “Nazi sympathizer” in the U.K. Soon after, the Republican congressman traveled to Austria, where he sat down for an interview with a far-right publication, condemned diversity, and accused immigrants of pushing Western civilization into decline.

Soon after, King threw his support behind a fringe mayoral candidate in Toronto who gained notoriety after appearing on a neo-Nazi podcast.

Over the weekend, the Iowan spoke to the Washington Post about some of his associations.

He said the groups he’s associated with that are criticized as having neo-Nazi views were more accurately “far right” groups. He specifically cited Austria’s Freedom Party, which was founded by a former Nazi SS officer and is led by Heinz-Christian Strache, who was active in neo-Nazi circles as a youth. The group has emphasized a hard-line anti-immigration stance even as it seeks to distance itself from the Nazi connections.

“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans,” King said.

Yes, I suppose that’s true. It’s also one of the most brutal criticisms I’ve seen of the Republican Party in quite a while.

Let’s also re-emphasize a point that’s often overlooked when it comes to King: the Iowa congressman is currently in charge of the House Judiciary Committee’s panel on “the Constitution & Civil Justice.”

Republican leaders could strip him of his gavel, but they apparently don’t want to.