The young man, later identified as Kaleb Van Fossen, a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, asked the congressman about how some of his views seem to echo those of the alleged gunman who walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue last weekend and killed 11 people.
“The terrorist who committed this crime, he was quoted as saying, ‘They bring invaders in that kill our people, I can’t sit back and watch out people get slaughtered,’” Van Fossen noted to King. “You, Steve King, have been quoted as saying, ‘We can’t restore our civilization with other people’s babies.’ You and the shooter both share an ideology that is fundamentally anti-immigration.”
King immediately and angrily cut Van Fossen off, pointing his finger at the questioner, and saying, “Do not associate me with that shooter.”
He continued with a rant: “I knew you were an ambusher when you walked in the room, but there is no basis for that and you get no question and you get no answer. You crossed the line. It is not tolerable to accuse me to be associated with a guy that shot 11 people in Pittsburgh.” The congressman boasted of his life-long support for the state of Israel as a way to distance his views from those of the anti-Semitic killer.
“I will not answer your question and I’ll not listen to another word from you,” King concluded, as the man attempted to defend himself and complete the question.
“Do you identify as a white nationalist?” the questioner finally asked, prompting another eruption from King.
“Sir, stop it,” he said. “You’re done.” The congressman then demanded security remove the man from the room.
King later retweeted the video, adding his own commentary: “Leftist Media Lies have reached Peak Insanity and compared me to the evil Pittsburgh murderer of 11 Jews! Here is my reaction.”
The Iowa congressman has faced mounting pressure from within and outside the Republican Party for his many comments that echo white-nationalist views, and also for his recent meeting with a website affiliated with a far-right Austrian party with historical Nazi ties.
His own re-election race has seemingly tightened as his Democratic opponent, J.D. Scholten, has tirelessly campaigned and has outraised him. King recently purchased air-time in the final days of the race as Scholten's ads have been running unopposed.
King’s rhetoric, including a Twitter feed laden with the promotion of neo-Nazi and white-nationalist figures, prompted a sharp rebuke from Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate,” Stivers said on Tuesday. “We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.”