Republican Leaders Silent Full Day After Congressman Retweets Neo-Nazi

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) retweeted a neo-Nazi on Tuesday morning. He has faced no consequences for the tweet, and the leaders of his party have so far remained silent.

Mark Collett, whom King retweeted, isn’t quiet about his beliefs. According to HuffPost, he’s called himself a Nazi sympathizer, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and was the subject of the 2002 documentary “Young, Nazi and Proud.”

A year ago, he joined former KKK grand wizard David Duke for an hour-long discussion on, per Duke’s website, “the massive violence that continues to be inflicted on the world by the Jewish dominated left.”

Last month, Duke joined Collett for the 50th episode of a YouTube chat show Collett hosts, “This Week on the Alt Right.” Collett addressed Duke’s critics on the show: “Are they going to sacrifice everything to try and save their race, like David Duke has? Because that is the measure of a great man.” In 2016, according to a Daily Mail report, Collett campaigned for Brexit in the UK alongside his swastika-tattooed girlfriend, Eva Van Housen.

And yet the Republican Party maintained its silence Wednesday: TPM’s requests for comment to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the National Republican Campaign Committee and the Republican National Committee all went unanswered. None have commented publicly on King’s retweet. King’s office did not respond to TPM’s questions.

The amplification of a neo-Nazi is the latest in a years-long stream of similar actions from the Iowa congressman. In December, he tweeted “Diversity is not our strength” and attributed a quote to the right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban: “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.” Following President Donald Trump’s January State of the Union address, King told TPM “the Congressional Black Caucus took a knee nearly all night.”

In March of last year, King was able to garner a rare response from his Republican colleagues when he tweeted “[Anti-muslim Dutch politician Geert] Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

“I don’t think that statement reflects what is special about this country,” Speaker Ryan responded the following night in an interview with Fox News’ Brett Baier. He added, though: “I would like to think — and I haven’t spoke to Steve about this — I would like to think he misspoke, and it wasn’t meant the way it sounds, and I hope he’s clarified that.”

Nope: Hours earlier, King had stood by his comments in an interview with CNN.

Three days later, King told The Hill: “My colleagues have generally been coming by and patting me on the back. And a surprising number have said that they pray for me. And, meaning they support me and they agree with me, a surprising number.”

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