Congressman Steve King announced that he would bring one half of the far-right YouTube star duo Diamond And Silk to the State Of The Union as his honored guest. Each member of Congress gets one ticket to give out to the balcony seats for the President’s address on Tuesday evening.
In a tweet, King said that Lynette Hardaway (the Diamond of Diamond of Silk) won a coin flip to get the seat, but that both women would join him at a congressional event the next day. Iowa’s Democratic members of Congress are all bringing Iowans; King’s guest is from North Carolina.
Diamond and Silk are a stridently pro-Donald Trump/MAGA video streamers who have become very popular on the far-right since 2016. They’ve spoken often at Trump rallies and are frequent guests on right-wing outlets, though some accuse them of running a “con” job. The two also defend Trump specifically on racial issues.
“Donald Trump is not a racist,” is an oft-repeated refrain of theirs. “What he is, is a realist. The only color he sees is green, and he wants you to have some of it!”
This isn’t the first time King has connected himself so closely with the two performers. He invited them to a House Judiciary Committee to talk about so-called censorship of conservative viewpoints by social media companies.
Reaction to King’s choice online was negative and mostly mocking. Many suggested he chose black right-wing entertainers to deflect from the constant racist controversies and statements that’s beset his career, culminating in his loss of all his committee assignments this year. And, indeed, there’s certainly some interesting psychology that goes into why Diamond and Silk’s overwhelmingly white and male audience love them so much when they go on over-the-top tirades on the left and Democrats.
Meanwhile, Iowa’s Democratic members of Congress are bringing actual Iowans as their State of the Union guests. Abby Finkenauer has invited Jesse Wegner, the President of the Iowa Association of Farm Service Agency County Office Employees, who raised concerns about staff members getting paid during the shutdown. Dave Loebsack is bringing Clinton Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Chapman, whose department lost a firefighter recently in the line duty. And Cindy Axne selected Peggy Huppert, the director of the National Alliance on Mental Health Iowa.
by Pat Rynard