Steve King Insults Our War Heroes With Confederate And Neo-Nazi Praise

I think I was in third grade in my rural Iowa classroom in 1962 or 1963 when my teacher Mrs. Schneckloth gave our class an assignment that probably changed my life forever. She asked us to find a magazine with a photo, or an image of an historical event, paste it to construction paper (remember that?), and on the back, do some research and write about that historic event. The image I found was a reproduction of a painting, an idealized representation of a battle in the Civil War. I think the image was from either Life or Look magazine. Old timers will remember those grand old magazines fondly.

I found that image of the blue and gray battlefield compelling, and I pulled the encyclopedia we had at home—The World Book—off the bookshelf, and started researching the Civil War. And writing. Soon, I had filled the one sheet of construction paper, in what was probably a rambling and certainly plagiarized essay.

I asked Mrs. Schneckloth if it was OK if I kept writing about the subject even though I had turned the assignment in, and a little surprised, she introduced me to The Palimpsest, a magazine published by the State Historical Society of Iowa. I read and read, and wrote and wrote a great many pages, for months afterward.

I was pleased to learn that Iowa was a Union State, and on the right side of a terrible war that ended the abhorrent practice of slavery. When I told my grandpa about my research, he told me about his grandpa, who fought on the Union side for the state of Ohio. While we weren’t Iowans yet, my chest swelled with pride as my grandpa told me stories of his grandpa, a quiet man who loved music who fought in that great war.

As I grew older, I continued my research as a bit of a hobby. I learned that Iowa soldiers fought valiantly in the Civil War, and that it was the Iowa 22nd who broke the back of the Confederacy at Vicksburg. The Iowa troops were the only ones to break through Confederate lines during that battle, hastening the end of the war. A total of 76,242 Iowa men, including a black regiment, served in combat. Over 13,000 died of wounds or disease, and 8,500 men were wounded. Iowa men died in southern prison camps, and today lay at rest in graves across the south, little remembered. No other state, north or south, had a higher percentage of its male population between the ages of 15 and 40 serve in the military during the course of the war.

Are you proud of that? I’m proud of that. All Iowans should be. Every citizen of every Union state should be proud of our historic role in ending slavery, and anyone who displays the Confederate flag here is not only disrespecting those who lived under the yoke of slavery and their descendants, they are also disrespecting our veterans—our ancestors—who fought and died to help set them free. So Iowans, quit flying those damn Confederate flags. Historical revisionists try to say that the war between the states wasn’t about slavery, it was about states rights. They are lying. It was about slavery. The right for states to decide or whether or not slavery was legal. An abomination. If you fly it just to “own the libs,” you’re stupid.

Congressman Steve King has shown that disrespect for years, and he continues to do so today. He displayed the Confederate flag on his desk in Congress, reportedly taking the flag down in 2016 after the shooting death of two metro Des Moines police officers. Their alleged killer had unfurled a Confederate flag in the stands near African-American students at an Urbandale football game.

Yet, as far as I can tell, King has not apologized for flying that damn flag, or given a reason for taking it down. He may have succumbed to political pressure. At the time, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said they disagreed with King’s decision to have a Confederate flag in his office. Kaufmann has also countered King’s controversial remarks on immigrants, saying, “I do not agree with Congressman King’s statement. We are a nation of immigrants, and diversity is the strength of any nation and any community.”

Just this past week, the conservative Weekly Standard magazine called King “America’s Most Deplorable Congressman,” saying he’s an embarrassment to the Republican Party and to America.

And Iowa.

While many Fourth District voters have rationalized King’s disrespect of Iowa’s honorable past, our Civil War history, his weakest-in-congress performance record, racism and hate, simply because he delivers a reliably conservative vote. And sure, some voters rationalize that the Civil War is a long time ago, and that King really isn’t racist, the Democrats are overreaching, and King’s just protecting our culture, and our borders.


Sure, ignore his Confederate flag, even if it insults our great Iowa past, veterans, and our black friends and neighbors who live the legacy of slavery. Ignore his insults to our immigrant friends and neighbors as well.

Are you willing to ignore his Nazi flag too?

While he may not be flying it yet, his association with and support of the alt-right neo-Nazi movement in America and Europe is clear.

King didn’t condemn the torch bearing neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville in August of 2017 that resulted in the death of a young woman after a protester drove his car into the crowd. He found equal fault with the counter-protesters of the Nazis.

In June, King tweeted in support of Mark Collett, a British white-nationalist, on immigration.

King visited Austria in August and gave an extensive interview to a far-right publication there in which presented his white nationalist worldview. King talked with Caroline Sommerfeld of the Austrian far-right propaganda site Unzensuriert. Sommerfeld is a prominent intellectual in Europe’s neo-fascist identitarian movement, which has deep connections to America’s alt-right.

On October 16, he endorsed white-nationalist Faith Goldy for mayor of Toronto. Goldy has praised a book that calls for the extermination of “the Jewish menace.” In August 2017 Goldy was fired by Rebel Media for podcasting with the neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer.

King was offered a clear opportunity to declare that he wasn’t a white nationalist, and to distance himself from the alt-right and neo-Nazi movements on WHO-TV’s The Insiders with Dave Price this past Sunday. He declined. Instead, he turned Price’s question into a free speech issue and ironically complained about being “cyber bullied,” when he himself is an internet troll extraordinaire.

I could go on. These are but a few examples of his ties to the neo-Nazi movement.

King, like me, and many of you, appears to have an ancestor who fought for the Union in the Civil War. A little genealogical research suggests that King’s great grandfather Samuel M. Whiting served in the Union Army. He enlisted in Company I, Iowa 20th Infantry Regiment on 22 Aug 1862. He mustered out 12 Oct 1863 in Davenport.

What do you believe Mr. Whiting would think of his great grandson’s admiration of the Confederate flag that he, his family, friends and neighbors fought against to save our nation and free slaves if he were able to speak with him today? I suspect he would hang his head in shame.

King, like me, and most of you, also likely had family who fought in World War II against the Nazi  genocidal regime of Adolf Hitler. What do you think they would think of Mr. King’s embrace of neo-Nazis? What do you think?

Iowa’s Republican leadership is embarrassed by Steve King. So is the conservative media, and other conservative leaders.

Does the fourth District really want a congressman who the Weekly Standard declares an “Embarrassment to the GOP and America?”

That for voters to decide, but do you know who REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wants King to stay in office?

Former KKK grand wizard David Duke, a supporter who tweeted “GOD BLESS STEVE KING!!!…”

The Civil War and World War II aren’t over—only the battlefields have changed. Which side are you on?

A native Iowan, Robert Leonard hosts a public affairs program for KNIA/KRLS Radio in Knoxville/Pella and is an occasional contributor to The New York Times, The Kansas City Star, and other publications. He has appeared on CNN, Meet the Press Daily with Chuck Todd, MSNBC with Katy Tur, and more. @robertleonard


by Robert Leonard
Reprinted from Storm Lake Times
Posted 10/25/18

8 Comments on "Steve King Insults Our War Heroes With Confederate And Neo-Nazi Praise"

  • Your article was informative, particularly the information about the high percentage of Civil War soldiers from Iowa. This topic was barely covered during my education at Sioux City schools. I first learned about their role while visiting a small county historical museum near Lake Okaboji which displayed moving letters from Civil War soldiers to their Iowa families.

  • Well-said. The only thing I disagree with, really, is the statement that King is an embarrassment to Iowa Republicans. Certainly not to the incumbent who is currently running to keep the office Governor’s Office. Isn’t King still her campaign manager? (actually, one of a host of co-chairs, but nonetheless hasn’t been fired)
    He needs to be gone from public life, both on a national and a state level. Just. Gone. Retired, to spew his vitriol to the walls surrounding him.

  • Trump and King are trying to trigger a new civil war with their racism and bigotry. We let King get away with his outrageous behavior and pure hatred against many ethnic groups for too long.
    Trump may have learned some of his dirty politics and rhetoric directly from King. They are both neo-Nazis and do not follow American values. We need to vote them out of office ASAP.

    • Completely agree but I wish I knew what I can personally do to help rid our country of him when he appears to have so many.

  • Personally although I find King deplorable, I find articles like this one similarly disgusting. Your take on the civil war is simplistic at best. Lincoln’s main concern was preserving the union, a thing that he said he would do whatever the cost. Lincoln himself said he was not fighting to end slavery; and would not abolish it if that was what was required to preserve the union. So slavery itself was not the reason Lincoln declared war, it is much more complex than that. Had the southern states not demanded that the new territories be allowed to be slave states when admitted to the union; that slavery would only remain in the current states, Lincoln would not have abolished slavery. History and the civil war in particular is not straight forward, and while slavery is disgusting, you shouldn’t be lying about a history you obviously do not fully understand the complexities of for political purposes. King is such an idiot that you can find many examples of his despicable behavior to portray instead of manipulating history to suit you agenda. Yes slavery was a factor of the civil war, but to state that it was thee reason for the war is every bit as disingenuous as those who state that it was not about slavery. Had the confederate states agreed to Lincoln’s initial proposals, it would have ended without the end of slavery in the confederate states. The rewriting of history for political purposes has become commonplace these days and I for one find that disturbing. You are contributing to that trend of historical revisionism with this article. I also find the fact that you bring neo-nazis and Charlottesville into this, just in case the first association that he’s a racist for flying the confederate flag doesn’t work then surely his alluded association with nazi’s or fascist will do the trick. I know people who live down south who’s families fought on the side of the confederates. They are no more racist or in favor of slavery than those in the north were. You do realize that in different times everyone in the confederate states was expected to support the area that they lived in. I don’t think you actually understand how the way of life for everyone was very different in that time period, and that’s why you shouldn’t be talking about it. Those people have as much right to have pride in their ancestors as anyone else does, and just because generations ago their ancestors fought on the losing side doesn’t mean they should be persecuted today, because that is exactly what you’re wanting to see happen. There is more to southern history than just slavery. There is no threat of returning to slavery, so stop using anyones pride in their confederate history to insinuate that they are racist today.

    In my eyes you are every bit as bad as those on the other side who use immigration or other issues do the same thing – scaremongering. Legal immigration is not the same as open borders, no one is against legal immigration we’ve had it forever and it’s worked just fine. We have laws for a reason, they may not be perfect, and many need to be changed, but giving non-legal ‘immigrants’ the right to vote, or have drivers licenses in some states is not right either. So following your line of reasoning which is ‘guilt by association’ anyone who is against open borders, is anti-immigration. Yet anyone who is for for open borders is also insulting all of those immigrants who came to this country and followed the legal process to gain citizenship. Ask a legal immigrant what they think about the immigration issue, I guarantee the overwhelming majority of them are against things like open borders because it’s a legitimate insult to their ancestors and themselves. Your arguments are dishonest and your thinking is irrational, and only serve the purpose of swaying voters to your ‘side’ in this all out war between the two parties. Not a single party has all the answers, some are worse on some issues than the other, but our system was designed to have balance by its creators. That balance has been out of whack for a very long time and unless each of us actually works to ensure that it works as it was designed to work, we all lose. One party having control over the whole nation serves no one, for it only leads to the other party doing the same in time. We are the only ones who can put a stop to what our political system has become. We are the only ones who can ensure that we elect candidates to those who can fix this broken system. The lack of term limits, lobbying, the food industries ability to lie to us being government sanctioned, the EPA working for the very industries they were designed to protect us from, everything that is wrong with the system needs overhauled. And it can only happen if we the people get involved. Getting the facts from varied sources, and making up your own minds on issues is only a start.

    Stop with the nazi and fascist scaremongering. There is far more threat of communism happening today than anything else. Haven’t you noticed the rise in the number of people actively promoting communism? Maybe you couldn’t link King to that because promoting communism is coming from the parties on the left not the right. Nobody is seriously considering becoming a nazi or a fascist, unless of course the political parties of today continue to demand extreme things, thereby forcing people to consider joining those that are distasteful just to stop whatever they think is going to be implemented by the other party. You are creating this climate of fear with articles such as this. Again, stick to the moron in questions actual disgusting acts instead of embellishing or insinuating guilt, King has displayed enough despicable behavior for you to use only the facts.

    Maybe if everyone would simply be truthful, and research any issue that concerns them from all sides, would be a good start. There is no difference between the parties. They both use misinformation, scaremongering, and reporting only side or partial facts, and outright lies, in order to influence those who only have time to get their information from pre-digested sources or biased sources. And that’s the real problem. People don’t have time to do thorough research or the ability to access unbiased factual information. However I can say as an independent who does, if you are only getting information presented by the left, or the right, you are making decisions, thinking, and yes being controlled, by one party or the other. Do yourself a favor and get your information from both sides before deciding how you should be thinking about any issue.

    One last thought. Freedom of speech is of primary importance, for without it everything else falls. You may not like what other people say, or how they think, but if they don’t have the right to think or say whatever that is, then your right to think or say what you want is also in danger. For today it may be nazi’s, fascist, or communist, that you believe your fighting against, where in reality tomorrow it will be you. Whether we limit free speech by making laws against the misuse of gender pronouns, or try to demonize people who have pride in their confederate ancestors, it’s all the same. It is the thought police. And understand clearly that the ability to take legal action against those who don’t think in a certain way that may differ from how you do, ordained by whatever political party is in control is a very dangerous road because tomorrow it may be what you do, or say, or how you look or dress. If you fight for anything fight for freedom of speech because next comes compelled speech and all of the ideologies that go along with that whether they be communist, nazis, fascism, etc. What this means is fight for the right of those who wish to say or do or think differently than you, to do it, lest you lose your right to do the same.

  • One other factor that makes the confederate flag offensive is that it was the flag of a group of states, that depending on views over the legality of secession, was either an organized crime enterprise or the flag of a nation of organization whose military invaded American soil and attacked and killed Americans. Knowing that, flying the confederate flag is like flying Japan’s flag or the flag of al-Qaeda. No one would accept that.

  • After this elextion, I have the sickening feeling that if Adolf Hitler were on the ballot in northwest Iowa, he would win handsomely.

    Maybe those people who live there should ask themselves if they really believe in Democracy, the Constitution, and the American way of life?

    I, also, cannot help but wonder if northwest Iowa will experience negative economic repercussions because if the support given Steve King?

  • After this election, I have the sickening feeling that if Adolf Hitler were on the ballot in northwest Iowa, he would win handsomely.

    Maybe those people who live there should ask themselves if they really believe in Democracy, the Constitution, and the American way of life?

    I, also, cannot help but wonder if northwest Iowa will experience negative economic repercussions because if the support given Steve King?

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