What's The Logic? GOP "Rebuke" Rep. King While Ignoring POTUS Trump's Racism

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Donald Trump. Though Rep. King was censured, he deserves even bigger repudiation for escalating racist rhetoric. Photo: Gage Skidmore-Flickr  [Speaking Truth To Empower] 

Last week, the Republican Party pretended to rebuke White nationalist Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King by stripping him of his House committee assignments—as some Republicans called on him to resign from Congress. King in a radio interview said he'd only leave Congress if the good Lord were to call him; he'd better stop tempting divine forces. Another King, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., honored by the nation yesterday, would have criticized the hypocrisy of these grandstanding Republicans who are just as bigoted and backward as the Iowa congressman—but far less honest. 

Last Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced the removal of Rep. King from his congressional committee responsibilities. Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, said "I'd like to see him find another line of work."Last Tuesday, House Democrats also condemned King for his recent racist statements, where King espoused support for White nationalism, by passing a resolution—introduced by South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, the Majority Whip. 

Referencing Dr. King’s memory, Rep. Clyburn said on the House floor “I rise today to address what I call the tale of two Kings. One, a member of this body who wondered out loud to The New York Times why the terms ‘white nationalism’ and ‘white supremacy’ are offensive. I would say to my colleague that the terms are offensive because the concepts are evil.” Clyburn asked his House colleagues "to join me in breaking the deafening silence and letting our resounding condemnation be heard." 

Denunciations by Democrats is one thing, but these leaders in the Republican Party now professing disdain for Steve King have much the same racist mindset and worldview. They just mask their racism better under a veneer of feigned moral uprightness and in this case indignation. Rep. King, on the other hand, speaks the “politically incorrect” language those in the deep Republican base like. 

This move by the GOP was nothing more than phony political posturing, since Steve King is far from the only prominent Republican who espouses racism—in a party that authored the political policy known as the Southern Strategy. Birtherism was an outgrowth of that conjured up to delegitimize President Barack Obama and then businessman Donald Trump was a prime advocate. King is just more honest in advocating his racist views. Rep. King’s racism is repulsive.

The list of his offensive comments is long. Therefore, we must ask: why are the Republicans doing this now? What are they trying to distract us from? Is it that we have a White nationalist president who has, among other things, caused a government shutdown which is now the longest in history? While Republicans stripped King of his congressional committee duties, the Trump shutdown continues—and the economic pain is spreading—and is affecting far more than the 800,000 workers who aren’t receiving paychecks.

The Republican politician who the GOP should be condemning, and checking his power, is: President Donald Trump—who is definitely “a clear and present danger” to the security of America, and the world. Are Republicans trying to insinuate that there is some great difference between Steve King and Trump?

Here are comparisons to consider.After the 2017, “Unite the Right” march by neo-Nazis and others—that led to the death of Heather Heyer—Steve King, who was said to proudly display a confederate flag on his congressional desk, tweeted "I agree w\Lt. Col. Allen West's Charlottesville article. American history is to be learned & understood not erased." Here he is complaining about the removal of confederate symbols. So consumed by racism, he never utters a word about the killing of Heyer. 

Was Trump any better though in his response to Charlottesville, when he said there were “very fine people” among these White supremacists? Let’s not also forget Trump characterized African nations as “shithole countries” and complained about a lack of White immigration from countries like Norway. The current uproar against Steve King’s came after a recent New York Times interview when King said, “White nationalist, White supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?” 

Is there some great difference between King’s comment and Trump’s declaration, last October that "You know what I am? I'm a nationalist. ... Use that word." Because he didn’t say White before nationalism that’s supposed to be some great substantive difference when he knows he's White? Again, the only difference here is: King is more honest with his White nationalism than Trump and Republicans. 

The current month-long government shutdown is the end result of the continual racist fear-mongering Trump, and the Republican Party, have been inciting for years. The “wall” is a symbol for a fearful segment of White America that sees the country changing before their very eyes. A new America where “others,” not only Whites, attain a piece of the so-called “American Dream.” Consider this: Last Monday and Tuesday, the Republican leadership was denouncing Steve King. Then, on Wednesday, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell was using the word “alien,” on the Senate floor, echoing President Trump’s racist resurrection of the term. In his recent address to the nation, Trump used the term “illegal aliens” repeatedly. 

Since Trump emerged on the political scene, the viciousness of the racist rhetoric by Republicans on immigration has gotten worse. This has led to an uptick of bigoted violence across the country. Last October, we witnessed, over several days, incidents where 16 mailbombs were sent to prominent Democrats, and CNN, by suspected MAGA bomber Cesar Sayoc Jr. Within days of Sayoc’s alleged mailbombing activities, Robert Bowers was accused of killing 11 Jewish congregants and wounding 7 others at Pittsburg’s Tree of Life Synagogue. Reportedly, Bowers posted a statement on the social media platform GAB, before the killings, saying "HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in." 

The connection between these racist incidents of violence and the political rhetoric of conservatives and Republicans is avoided for obvious reasons. For years now, Republicans said their only issue was with so-called illegal immigration. But that canard has been exposed since Republicans like Trump have complained about African immigrants coming from “shithole countries;” and the Nigerians, who he said if given visas would “never go back to their huts;” and the Haitians who “all have AIDS.” On these matters, there is no real difference of philosophy between Trump and Steve King—or, for that matter, many in the Republican Party. The racist demonization of non-Whites is seen in Trump’s, and Steve King’s, characterizations of Mexican, and Latino immigrants.

Trump has called undocumented immigrants “drug dealers,” “murderers,” and invaders who “bring disease.” Steve King once talked about “illegal immigrants” who’ve “got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” What kind of perverted racist mind comes up with comments like that?  Since there is no substantive difference between Steve King and Donald Trump’s message, why aren’t Republicans repudiating Trump for the economic distress he is now causing with the government shutdown—which is rooted in anti-immigrant racism? 

Of course, the racist representation of Mexicans as criminals, murders and disease-carriers follows the same playbook of prejudice African-Americans have always experience at the hands of White America. The same dehumanizing characterizations have been used against African-Americans, by White America, and its police forces—with their “license to kill.” 

Consider this: Last Friday, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to less than seven years for the cold-blooded back-shooting murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald—and will probably be back on the streets in three years. McDonald was killed while walking away from Van Dyke—and was clearly not a threat to police—but Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan, in a horrendously unjust decision decided Officer Van Dyke’s only deserved three years in prison for this 16-bullet back-shooting murder. Where are the “rule of law” Republicans in denouncing this racist sentence by Judge Gaughan?

If McDonald had murdered Officer Van Dyke would he have been given less that the maximum penalty? The bigotry in this sentence is more damaging than Steve King’s racist rhetoric.

If Republicans were condemning killer-cops like Jason Van Dyke—and race-baiters like President Trump—maybe, then we could take their reprimands of White nationalist Congressman Steve King more seriously.  

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