WASHINGTON—A Republican Iowa congressman with a history of signalling his support for bigotry has endorsed white nationalist Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy.
“Faith Goldy, an excellent candidate for Toronto mayor, pro Rule of Law, pro Make Canada Safe Again, pro balanced budget, &…BEST of all, Pro Western Civilization and a fighter for our values. @FaithGoldy will not be silenced,” Steve King wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night.
It is highly unusual for American politicians to endorse any candidate in a municipal election outside the U.S., let alone a figure on the fringe. But King has repeatedly echoed the language of the white nationalist movement and praised far-right, anti-immigrant foreign politicians.
Goldy has recited and defended the white supremacist “14 words” slogan, recommended anti-Semitic reading, and expressed contempt for Muslims. She was fired in 2017 from Rebel Media, the far-right Canadian media organization, after she appeared on a podcast affiliated with the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer.
Goldy does not have a realistic chance of victory in Monday’s election. She was at 1.5 per cent in a Mainstreet Research poll in late September, well behind incumbent John Tory (64 per cent) and former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat (31 per cent). She had virtually the same level of support as the largely unknown candidates who participated in a televised September debate, Sarah Climenhaga (1.3 per cent) and Saron Gebresellassi (1.1 per cent).
“Who wants to tell @SteveKingIA that Toronto isn’t in the U.S.? Once again, Steve King spends more time supporting far-right leaders in other countries than he does focusing on the needs of the people of our district,” King’s Democratic opponent, J.D. Scholten, responded on Twitter.
King has argued against “mixing cultures,” saying on Twitter in 2017, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” In 2016, when he was a national co-chair of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, he said on MSNBC that white people had contributed more to “civilization” than “any other subgroup.”
The Daily Stormer declared then: “Steve King is basically an open white nationalist at this point.”
King, though, has been treated by President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and other party leaders as a member in good standing, with Trump praising him at an Iowa rally last week. King is leading in the polls in his own race.
The tweet about Goldy drew criticism online. Mark Salter, speechwriter and co-author to the late Republican senator John McCain, wrote: “Your daily (and it almost daily) reminder that @SteveKing is a white supremacist.”
The Des Moines Register, Iowa’s largest newspaper, criticized King’s Twitter behaviour in an editorial three days before his tweet about Goldy.
“He won’t debate his opponent and rarely holds public town halls. Instead, he spends his time meeting with fascist leaders in Europe and retweeting neo-Nazis,” the Register said.
King’s campaign and Goldy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Premier Doug Ford faced days of controversy after he posed for a photo with Goldy at his annual Ford Fest party. He eventually said on Twitter, “I have been clear. I condemn hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms — be it from Faith Goldy or anyone else.”
On Tuesday, an Ontario judge dismissed Goldy’s lawsuit against Bell Media for refusing to run her campaign ad, saying her complaint should be filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) rather than the courts.
Daniel Dale is the Star’s Washington bureau chief. He covers U.S. politics and current affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @ddale8