Government

Steve King says criticism he's received helps him relate to what Christ 'went through for us'

Facing his 'accusers' in House gave him 'better insight,' he says

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks with Roberta Radke of Alta after a Tuesday town hall meeting in Cherokee in northwest Iowa. At the meeting, King said the criticism he’s faced from his “accusers” in the U.S. House has given him “better insight into what (Christ) went through for us.” (Bret Hayworth/Sioux City Journal)
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks with Roberta Radke of Alta after a Tuesday town hall meeting in Cherokee in northwest Iowa. At the meeting, King said the criticism he’s faced from his “accusers” in the U.S. House has given him “better insight into what (Christ) went through for us.” (Bret Hayworth/Sioux City Journal)

CHEROKEE — Referencing the recent Easter season, Rep. Steve King said Tuesday the criticism he’s faced from his “accusers” in the U.S. House has given him “better insight into what (Christ) went through for us.”

“For all that I’ve been through — and it seems even strange for me to say it — but I am at a certain peace, and it is because of a lot of prayers for me,” the 4th District Republican told about 30 people at a town hall meeting in Cherokee.

“And, when I have to step down to the floor of the House of Representatives, and look up at those 400-and-some accusers, you know we just passed through Easter and Christ’s passion, and I have better insight into what He went through for us partly because of that experience.”

The story of Christ’s crucifixion is central to Christianity. The final period in Jesus’ life, starting with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and ending with his crucifixion and death on Good Friday is referred to as Christ’s passion.

King’s comments Tuesday came in response to a question from the Rev. Pinky Person of Cherokee, who said Christian principles can boost the nation toward healing and solving problems,

“My concern is how Christianity is really being persecuted,” he said. “It is starting right here in the United States.”

King, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, began his response with how he hires his staff, saying, “We have solid, faithful people at every level.”

He followed with his remarks on his accusers and thoughts on what Christ went through.

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King, a nine-term incumbent, has long won support from evangelical Christians, a key voting demographic in the northwest Iowa 4th District, the most conservative of the state’s congressional districts.

Last fall, the outspoken congressman survived the closest election race of his career. In Congress, he came under fire for his support for some international politicians and groups with ties to white nationalism.

In January, House leaders stripped King of his committee assignments for the next two years, following a national uproar over King’s quotes in a New York Times story in which he asked, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

The full House also voted, 421-1, to rebuke King for his remarks, a measure the Iowa congressman supported.

At Tuesday’s town hall, the first audience member to pose a question, Mike Bunt of Cleghorn, asked King to resign, so district residents could have a representative with committee assignments.

King rebuffed the request and again insisted the Times story was inaccurate. “The New York Times misquoted me ... I cannot let that stand,” he said.

At other town halls since the controversy surfaced, King has spoken out against Republican leaders for not standing behind him.

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