The GOP Is America’s Party of White Nationalism
In 1990, former President Ronald Reagan gave a moving speech to mark the end of the Cold War. “I received a letter just before I left office from a man. I don’t know why he chose to write it, but I’m glad he did,” Reagan said. “He wrote that you can go to live in France, but you can’t become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Italy, but you can’t become a German, an Italian. He went through Turkey, Greece, Japan, and other countries. But he said anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.”
Reagan endorsed that view and went on to point out: “If we take this crowd and if we could go through and ask the heritage, the background of every family represented here, we would probably come up with the names of every country on Earth, every corner of the world, and every race. Here is the one spot on Earth where we have the brotherhood of man. And maybe as we continue with this proudly, this brotherhood of man made up from people representative of every corner of the Earth, maybe one day boundaries all over the Earth will disappear as people cross boundaries and find out that, yes, there is a brotherhood of man in every corner.”
So much for the “brotherhood of man.” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has a very different vision. On March 12, he posted a tweet praising the Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders, who wants to close mosques, ban the Quran, and end Muslim immigration. “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,” King wrote. “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” The next morning he was given a chance on CNN to back off this revolting statement, which has been praised by David Duke and which led the neo-Nazi newspaper the Daily Stormer to exult: “Steve King is basically an open white nationalist at this point. … He is our guy.” King didn’t flinch, saying, “Well, I meant exactly what I said.”
Of course he did. Because King has said similar things many times. Last year he said that no “subgroup” other than “white people” has contributed “more to civilization.” (That will come as news to the Chinese, who invented, among other things, paper, printing, gunpowder, the compass, tea, silk, and rockets — or to the inhabitants of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, where the very first civilizations arose thousands of years ago.) King has also dismissed the contributions made to America by immigrants who were brought here illegally as children. “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” he notoriously said in 2013.