It’s time for Steve King to go

He should not represent Iowa in U.S. House of Representatives

Last fall, this newspaper urged voters to return U.S. Rep. Steve King to Congress for a ninth term. We made the decision to make that endorsement with some misgivings. We wanted our region to be represented in Washington by someone who would support a conservative agenda.

We also wanted a congressman who had the interests of farm country at heart. We thought King’s membership on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture made him well-placed to safeguard rural America.

Unfortunately, King was far from an ideal choice. It is now clear that the endorsement we made was a mistake. We should have pondered more carefully King’s pattern of making outrageous statements.

Throughout his career, King has made comments that were at the very least insensitive to the role of various minorities in our diverse society. At best, many things he said — and apparently believed — were evidence of great ignorance. It now appears likely that something more severe was involved. It’s hard to read the reports of the comments King has made recently and the individuals and groups he has praised without concluding that he either is a racist or is far too tolerant of those who are.

That’s why Republican Party leaders in the U.S. House have stripped King of all his committee assignments. It’s also why some party leaders have urged that he resign from Congress. Members of the U.S. House voted nearly unanimously for a resolution rebuking him for his use of the terms “white supremacist” and “white nationalist.”

Consequently, King no longer has the ability to look out in Congress for the interests of rural Iowa. The main work there takes place in committees. King has been excluded from that venue. Beyond that, it is apparent that virtually no member of the House or Senate has any desire to interact with him professionally — or quite likely, personally.

Perhaps most importantly, however, the racially charged comments that have become King’s hallmark are incompatible with representing the good people of Iowa. Racism and/or insensitivity to racism are unacceptable to virtually all Iowans or all political persuasions.

Therefore, King should resign from Congress with no delay. That will allow a special election to be held so someone who will not be an embarrassment to our state can be elected. Northwest Iowa needs a new representative in the House as soon as possible.

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