Vivek Ramaswamy Touts Endorsement Of White Supremacist Former Rep. Steve King

King, who not long ago spoke at a conference frequented by neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers, endorsed Ramaswamy in the Iowa presidential primary.

Steve King, the white supremacist former congressman from Iowa, endorsed longshot candidate Vivek Ramaswamy in the state’s Republican presidential primary on Tuesday.

“Vivek Ramaswamy is going to shock the world at the Iowa caucus because he is the only candidate in this race who’s had the courage to oppose the CO2 pipelines here in Iowa, to publicly oppose the climate change cult, to commit to pardon peaceful Jan 6 protestors on day 1, and to end birthright citizenship for kids of illegals in this country,” King said in a statement obtained by Politico.

The Ramaswamy campaign also produced a video of King making the endorsement, in which he calls Ramaswamy the candidate who will “restore the pillars of American exceptionalism.”

King, a Republican, spent 18 years in Congress as a representative for the conservative northwest corner of Iowa, earning a reputation as one of the furthest-right and most racist legislators in Washington. He lost his 2020 primary race to a relatively more moderate Republican, Rep. Randy Feenstra, after a series of remarks he made condoning white supremacy.

Since he left office, King has openly embraced well-known white supremacists, even speaking at the 2022 American Renaissance conference in Tennessee, the annual gathering that has attracted some of America’s most notorious racists and anti-Semites, including Nick Fuentes and Richard Spencer.

On Tuesday, Ramaswamy responded to King’s endorsement on X, formerly Twitter, saying:

Most people are sheep when it comes to making endorsements, but @SteveKingIA doesn’t do what he’s “supposed to.” He votes his conscience and that’s why I respect him. Steve King was America First before it was cool. The likes of Steve King & Pat Buchanan were the OGs. He doesn’t back down from a fight and he certainly doesn’t bow to the Establishment. Grateful for his endorsement. Next up #shocktheworld on Jan. 15.

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NewsNation on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, at the Moody Music Hall at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NewsNation on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, at the Moody Music Hall at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
via Associated Press

Ramaswamy, a former biotech entrepreneur, has repeatedly embraced fringe far-right figures and positions during his campaign. He has touted the work of Richard Hanania, a racist far-right writer exposed by HuffPost as “Richard Hoste,” the pseudonymous author of dozens of articles on white supremacist website. Some of the articles Hanania wrote under the pen name advocated for the forced sterilization and ethnic cleansing of non-white people.

Ramaswamy provided a blurb for Hanania’s book, “The Origin of Woke,” published by HarperCollins in September, calling him “unafraid to transcend the Overton Window on issues of race and gender” and saying that his book amounted to “a devastating kill shot to the intellectual foundations of identity politics in America.”

And as noted by Politico, Ramaswamy has called the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol an “inside job” and even used a televised debate appearance in December to push the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, which maintains that Democrats are importing immigrants into the U.S. to replace white voters. Ramasamy called the Great Replacement — which has motivated multiple white supremacist mass shootings — “not some grand right-wing conspiracy theory, but a basic statement of the Democratic Party’s platform.”

King’s endorsement was once highly sought after in Iowa, with Republican presidential hopefuls courting the congressman every couple years. But King’s political capital slowly depleted after a series of reports detailed his extensive history of racist comments and deep ties to white supremacists at home and abroad.

In 2018, HuffPost reported that King had traveled to Austria, where he did an interview with a far-right publication in which he promoted the Great Replacement conspiracy theory. He also made headlines for repeatedly promoting neo-Nazis on Twitter and for endorsing a white supremacist candidate for mayor of Toronto.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King told The New York Times in a 2019 interview about immigration. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Republican leadership in the House took the rare step of stripping King of his committee seats as punishment for the comments, a move that helped precipitate his eventual primary defeat a few months later.

King has not dialed down his extremism since leaving office. During his appearance at the 2022 American Renaissance conference, he was photographed with Jason Kessler, the white supremacist organizer of the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Fantastic speech tonight at Amren by Congressman Steve King,” Kessler wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of him and King smiling and giving thumbs up for the camera.

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