Steve King met with far-right Austrian group after Europe trip funded by Holocaust memorial group: report

Greg Nash

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) reportedly met with members of a far-right Austrian party after concluding a five-day trip to Europe that was funded by a Holocaust memorial group. 

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that King traveled to Poland to tour Jewish and Holocaust historical sites in August as part of a trip financed by From the Depths, a group that tries to educate lawmakers about the Holocaust. 

{mosads}Just one day after his five-day journey concluded, King spoke in Vienna, Austria, with Unzensuriert (which translates as “Uncensored”), a website associated with Austria’s Freedom Party, according to the Post.

The newspaper notes that the party was founded by a former Nazi SS officer is led by Heinz-Christian Strache, who was active in neo-Nazi groups in his youth. The party has since distanced itself from its historical connection to Nazis, The Post added, but it recently took a hard-line stance against immigration while seeking ties with other global far-right parties.

In an interview with Unzensuriert, King said “western civilization is on the decline” and discussed how immigrants are replacing white Europeans, the Post reported.

“What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have?” King said. “Mexican food, Chinese food, those things — well, that’s fine, but what does it bring that we don’t have that is worth the price? We have a lot of diversity within the U.S. already.”

The Post reports that documents King filed with the House Ethics Committee show that his travel to Austria was a personally funded extension of his trip, taking place Aug. 24 to the time he left Europe on Aug. 26.

King’s airfare to and from Europe was paid by From the Depths.

“We didn’t know about any other travel,” Jonny Daniels, president of From the Depths, told The Post.  “We didn’t pay for any other travel or anything of the kind.” Daniels said the group knowingly paid for King’s travel to and from Europe, but said it had no knowledge of King’s travels after leaving the group on Aug. 23.

King echoed the remarks in an interview with the newspaper on Thursday, saying the group received no communication from him regarding his trip to Vienna. He also accused the “political opposition” of “ginning this up” before the upcoming midterm elections. 

King also defended his talks with the Freedom Party, saying they’re not a “fringe group.” The Republican said its leaders “completely reject any kind of Nazi ideology or philosophy.”

The report about King comes about two weeks before the midterms, where he is seeking a ninth term in office. King has faced repeated criticism over his comments about immigration and multiculturalism before.

He tweeted last year that diversity is not America’s strength. On Friday, King endorsed a candidate in Toronto’s mayoral election who was fired by an alt-right media outlet after she appeared on a podcast produced by a neo-Nazi website.

The Hill has reached out to King’s office for comment.

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