Kim Reynolds “Can’t Be Held Responsible” for Steve King, But She’s Ending Her Campaign with Him at a Rally

Screenshot/@CaroRCummings via Twitter

Last Wednesday, with Congressman Steve King facing more local and national criticism than ever before over his embrace of white nationalist rhetoric and promotion of far-right figures and political parties associated with neo-Nazis and anti-Semites, Gov. Kim Reynolds said she still wouldn’t dump him as an honorary gubernatorial campaign co-chair. Tonight, just days after the congressman gave an impassioned defense of a far-right Austrian political party with Nazi roots that he’s supported for the past several years, Reynolds is set to wrap up her campaign for a full term as Iowa governor at an event with King in Sioux Center.

“I’ve made it very clear I disagree with the comments that he’s made,” Reynolds told CBS2 News political reporter Caroline Cummings last week. “We are a country of immigrants and we celebrate that. I disagree with what he’s said, I’ve said that before.”

The governor said King was just “one of thousands of chairs and co-chairs on my campaign,” downplaying the significance of his association with it. “I can’t be held responsible for everyone’s comments,” Reynolds added. “I can be held responsible for myself.”

When Reynolds announced King as one of her campaign co-chairs in November 2017 — the day after she said the lack of “civil discourse left” in politics “is really said” during a stop in Ames — she praised the congressman as “independent, principled,” and a “strong defender of freedom and our conservative values.” A press release from her campaign added that the governor “was humbled by the endorsement” from King.

The next month, Reynolds was asked about recent tweets from King echoing the white nationalist talking point that “diversity is not our strength.” She dismissed the tweets as part of “the Twitter war” before providing essentially the same disclaimer as last week’s. “I completely disagree with what he said,” she said. “I have a lot of co-chairs that have signed up to support our campaign” and “I’m not going to agree with everything they have to say.”

Gavin Aronsen
Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.