With A History Of Making Racist Remarks, Vivek Ramaswamy Is Running Against A Former Congressman


GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy joined the campaign trail Wednesday with former Rep. Steve King, a divisive politician who lost his position in 2020 after making racist remarks.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King once asked The New York Times. Members of his party also chastised him for remarks he once made questioning whether humanity would exist if not for babies born as a result of rape and incest.

King, a former Republican powerbroker in Northwest Iowa, has faded from public view since losing his House seat three years ago to now-Rep. Randy Feenstra, a fellow Republican challenged him. But King appeared alongside Ramaswamy on Wednesday, and while he hasn’t formally supported in the 2024 presidential election, his statements left no mistake about how he felt.

“If I were to give you a speech about all the things I disagree with that I heard Vivek Ramaswamy say, it’d be the shortest speech of my life,” King said, introducing Ramaswamy to the microphone during a packed day of campaign events they attended together on Wednesday in Lakeside, Iowa, just a few miles away from where King was born.

The two men originally became acquainted through their opposition to the proposed use of eminent domain to construct a carbon capture pipeline through Iowa. “Steve… you’ve actually been very helpful in my understanding of this issue,” Ramaswamy remarked, praising King during a pipeline campaign event on December 1.

“You know who isn’t responding when it comes to CO2 pipelines?” “Right at the top of the polls, Donald Trump isn’t answering, Ron DeSantis isn’t answering, and Nikki Haley isn’t answering,” King said of Ramaswamy’s GOP opponents during one of the eight presidential campaign visits King made with the presidential candidate on Wednesday.

Longtime Iowa GOP strategist David Kochel, who worked with the super PAC that campaigned against King in his 2020 primary against Feenstra, was unconvinced that King still retained any political power. “I don’t think Steve King’s endorsement is going to change anybody’s mind,” Kochel said to NBC News.

“It was embarrassing to the district to have him sound like a white nationalist, white supremacist,” he continued. “I just think it made the district seem horrible… He was always doing or saying something provocative, which diminished his capacity to accomplish his job.”

A voter asked Ramaswamy about going on the campaign trail with a man accused of being a white supremacist during a campaign event in Northwood on Tuesday.

I don’t think Steve King is a white supremacist,” Ramaswamy explained. “I don’t think he’s any [sic] close to that.

Some Republican groups also stepped into the 2020 battle against King, fearing that he might jeopardize Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s re-election bid. The 4th Congressional District in Northwest Iowa is the most Republican-heavy in the state, and Republicans rely on large majorities there to increase statewide victories. However, King came close to losing his contest against Democrat J.D. Scholten in 2018.

“His platform did not connect with the regular Iowan,” Scholten, now a state legislator, said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “He was pretty extreme out there.” So I think people just felt like he wasn’t really representing us.”

However, King may be seeking a comeback. When asked by NBC News if he would consider running for governor of Iowa in 2026, King hinted at a return to politics.

Well, Governor Reynolds is on the side of eminent domain,” King remarked, referring to Iowa’s popular governor.

“Bruce Rastetter appears to be pulling the strings,” King added, meaning that Rastetter, the CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions, which is building one of the carbon capture pipelines, wields disproportionate power over Reynolds.

If they ticked me off enough, I might take a look” King added.

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