White supremacists have long been enamored of Rep. Steve King, (R-IA). They love his anti-immigrant, nativist rhetoric and his embrace of extreme right-wing groups and individuals that promote white nationalism. Last week, Rep. King went a step further to ingratiate himself with this crowd, asking, in an interview with the New York Times, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization -- how did that language become offensive?" Some well-known white supremacists responded gleefully to his comments.
Kevin MacDonald, a retired professor who runs the anti-Semitic Occidental Observer website, tweeted, “One of my fantasies in life is that @SteveKingIA would become the GOP nominee after @realDonaldTrump is gone.”
But when Jewish conservative commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted that Congress should censure King for his comments, some white supremacists responded angrily, and some posted tweets falsely equating white nationalism with the very existence of the state of Israel.
Paul Ramsey, aka Ramzpaul, a YouTube personality and frequent speaker at white supremacist American Renaissance conferences, tweeted back at Shapiro, “Still waiting for you to oppose nationalism for your tribe.” Lana Lokteff, who runs a white supremacist media outlet, Red Ice Radio, with her husband, expressed similar views. She wrote on Twitter, “Nationalism + ‘supremacy” for Israel is good but bad & wrong for European nations…”
Nicholas Fuentes, a YouTube personality who runs the “America First” podcast, implied that white nationalism is the answer for America. He tweeted, “Globalists on both sides of the aisle hate him because he is a real Conservative and a Nationalist. I stand with Steve King!”
After King’s interview with the New York Times received attention in political, media and social media circles, he released a statement trying to rationalize his comments, claiming that he rejected the labels of white nationalism and white supremacy and that he condemns “anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent lives.” Yet, King went on to advocate for “Western Civilization’s values,” which is often used as a euphemism for white nationalism.
King’s follow-up statement infuriated a number of white supremacists who viewed it as a retreat from his previous comments and a display of weakness. Tony Hovater, a former leader in the defunct neo-Nazi group Traditionalist Worker Party, wrote on Twitter that King was a “cuck,” an insult used by white supremacists to describe a white conservative who promotes the interests of Jews and non-whites over those of whites. Hovater continued, “It’s already over for you. You don’t just apologize and hope they be nice. They’ll keep the pressure on you until you’re run out by your own party.”
Kevin MacDonald agreed with Hovater, writing on Twitter, “@SteveKingIA can deny it all he wants, but the haters will never let him live down the “white supremacist” label. He might as well own it.”
Richard Spencer, president of the white supremacist National Policy Institute and a well-known leader of the alt right, also expressed his anger at King, tweeting, “You think you can present yourself as toothless before your enemies and they’ll show you mercy? Such a gesture only elicits contempt. They’ll crush you with more vehemence and relish now.”
Spencer went further, asserting that figures like King are actually detrimental to the white nationalist movement, which would actually advance without people who try to distance themselves from white nationalism. Spencer tweeted, “[King] believes White identity and consciousness –leading ultimately to white identity politics—are evil. We simply cannot have people who obey this guilt complex leading our race. Ergo his destruction is a positive thing.”
In a follow-up tweet Spencer wrote that people like King “are the refuse that must be swept away before a real Right—a real opposition to White demoralization and dispossession—can emerge. At the end of the day, I don’t lament their destruction.”
Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, expressed more anger at the Republican Party than at King, whom he called a “hero” for declaring the “supremacy” of the white race. Anglin wrote on the Daily Stormer that the “Founding Fathers would have ALL been staunchly on the side of Steve King.” Anglin also attacked two Republicans, Ted Cruz and Kevin McCarthy, for condemning King’s remarks, which Anglin believes deserve a place in the “big party… with different views” that is the GOP.