Steve King pushes back against criticism: 'Leftist media commits all out slander'

Steve King pushes back against criticism: 'Leftist media commits all out slander'

Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingDems must wield power against the powerful to win back rural America Iowa governor: Steve King needs to decide if he wants to represent ‘the values of the 4th District’ Conservative magazine posts recording of King using derogatory language against immigrants MORE (R-Iowa) on Monday tweeted a link to an article on The Gateway Pundit defending him from accusations of ties to neo-Nazis while blaming the "leftist media" for attacking him, adding it is not "anti-Semitic to call out [Democratic megadonor] George Soros."

"Not anti-Semitic to call out George Soros. Leftist media commits all out slander of King," King tweeted, linking to the article from the right-wing website that argues for criticisms of Soros and points to King's visits with Jewish people and gay individuals while in Austria. 

King has been the target of much scrutiny for his criticism of Soros and for his association with a Nazi-linked group in Austria that he said is just a "far right" group that would be Republicans if they were in the U.S.

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Many conservatives have defended King's criticism of Soros, who has long been a subject of ire on the right, but have expressed concerns about King's other rhetoric.

King has been at the center of a number of racially charged controversies, previously endorsing a white nationalist candidate in a Toronto mayoral race and tweeting last year, "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."

A particular point of criticism has been his recent meeting with a paper associated with the Freedom Party in Austria. The Freedom Party is a group founded by a former Nazi SS officer and whose current leader was active in neo-Nazi circles, according to the Washington Post.

King defended the Freedom Party last week, saying he stood by his decision to visit its members. 

“At the end of the second World War in Austria, if you were involved in government you had Nazi ties,” King said in a speech in Des Moines, Iowa Public Radio reports.

King said all former Nazi officers were “purged” out of the party, “except for youthful affiliation for one of them.”

The Freedom Party's current head, Heinz-Christian Strache, was involved in neo-Nazism as a young man.

Strache has said he has left that behind and dismissed that period of his life, saying he was "stupid, naive and young," according to The Times of Israel.

He has since vowed to crack down on anti-Semitism in Europe, according to Iowa Public Radio.

“There's no party that's stronger pushing back against anti-Semites in Austria than the Freedom Party that's there,” King said last week.

Some conservatives have torn into King over the meeting.

"Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate," the head of the GOP campaign arm in the House, Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversDemocrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters House GOP returns to Washington after sobering midterm losses Conservative magazine posts recording of King using derogatory language against immigrants MORE (R-Ohio) tweeted last Tuesday.

"We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior."