Anti-Defamation League calls on Paul Ryan to take action against Steve King

Anti-Defamation League calls on Paul Ryan to take action against Steve King
© Greg Nash

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called for House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAEI names Robert Doar as new president GOP can't excommunicate King and ignore Trump playing to white supremacy and racism House vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King MORE (R-Wis.) to take disciplinary action against Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingSteve King fundraising off controversy surrounding white supremacy comments Steve King's primary challenger raises more than 0k in first 10 days of campaign GOP can't excommunicate King and ignore Trump playing to white supremacy and racism MORE (R-Iowa) over his "anti-Semitic and offensive" past statements. 

"We urge you, as Speaker of the House, to strip King from his chairmanships, and to take formal disciplinary action to censure King and condemn his actions," ADL CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt wrote in a public letter to the congressman. 

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Greenblatt added that the call from his organization was not initiated by basic policy disagreements, saying that King has "met with outright anti-Semitic organizations and individuals."

Greenblatt also said the House censuring King has greater importance in light of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 congregants dead. 

"What the moment demands is our country’s leaders, from all sectors of society, to make it crystal clear that anti-Semitism and hate have no place in the United States," Greenblatt wrote.

King, who is seeking a ninth term in the House, has repeatedly faced scrutiny for controversial comments.

In August, he said that “western civilization" was on the "decline" in an interview with a website associated with Austria's Freedom Party, a group founded by a former Nazi SS officer. 

He later defended his association with the far-right party, saying that its members "would be Republicans" if they were in the U.S. 

Companies such as Intel, Land O'Lakes and Purina have announced that they would stop donating to King's reelection campaign in the wake of his statements. 

In addition, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), the head of the GOP campaign arm in the House, said that King's actions were "completely inappropriate." 

The Cook Political Report now rates King's race against Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten as "lean Republican," a shift from "likely Republican."