Steve King's Views on Rape Are Inseparable From His Racism - 2019-08-16
Steve King believes that rape is essential to human survival. Speaking to members of the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, on Wednesday, the Republican congressman defended abortion laws that lack exceptions for incest or sexual assault. In his view, such laws are needed because humans would've gone extinct had men not raped large numbers of women and impregnated them. "What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest?" King said, according to the Des Moines Register. "Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society? I know I can't certify that I'm not a part of a product of that."
It's about as unhinged to suggest that humanity would perish in a rape-free world as to use this claim to force women to endure rape's consequences — including childbirth — in the year 2019, with no choice, and under threat of criminal punishment. Even so, no outcry from Wednesday's audience seems to have greeted King's remarks. But at least one attendee appreciated his explanation for another controversy: The fallout from his racist remarks earlier this year. "I did get a little better understanding of what he went through, in terms of the 'Never Trumpers' attack on him and setting him up for condemnation," said Rick Herron, age 72. "You expect the Democrats to attack him, but not the Never Trumpers — members of his own party." What King "went through" is this: After years spent advocating for thinly-veiled white nationalism, the congressman openly embraced the label in a New York Times profile. "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" he said in January. House Republicans responded by stripping King of his committee assignments, as though his racist views had only become clear in that moment.