Steve King was one of five congressmen who planned to meet today in Prague with Tomio Okamura, the leader of a far-right, anti-immigrant political party called the Movement of Freedom and Direct Democracy, according to the Czech news website Britské listy.
The planned visit, which the website reported today “was cancelled at the last minute due to ongoing budgetary problems in the US Congress,” was roundly criticized on social media by King’s critics because of a recent comment allegedly made by Jaroslav Staník, the party’s secretary, that “Jews, gays, and Roma should be gassed.”
Stanik, a close ally of Okamura, allegedly said this late last year at a restaurant open to members of the Czech parliament, where a labor minister from a rival party claimed Stanik was drunk and arguing with other members of parliament.
“As I entered the restaurant, he said, ‘You are that Marx-Engels minister. You support homosexuals,’” the labor minister said, according to Britské listy. “He added that they should be gassed and liquidated. I remonstrated with him verbally.”
Another member of parliament said that Stanik went on to demand “that all homosexuals, Roma, and Jews should be shot immediately after they have been born” and “also verbally attacked the women that were present with gross insults.”
Stanik’s comment about gassing Jews, gays, and Roma was confirmed by “several other witnesses,” Britské listy reported.
King was reportedly one of five Republicans — alongside Paul Gosar of Arizona, Andy Harris of Maryland, Dana Rohrabacher of California, and longtime King ally Louie Gohmert of Texas — who planned to make the trip before it was scrapped.
The canceled trip is the latest example of King’s political allegiances to right-wing European populists. He’s also met with far-right leaders in Germany and the Netherlands, embracing their anti-migrant views, and with leaders of an Austrian party founded by former Nazis; and is fond of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is transforming his country from a liberal democracy into an autocratic state.
King, like Stanik, has also shared the views of those with sympathies toward Nazi Germany. Last November, he retweeted an Orban quote with a link to a far-right European website whose founder has publicly supported the views of Adolf Hitler.