Brow Beat

Samantha Bee Wonders Why Republicans Are Quicker to Blame Late-Night Hosts Than to Condemn Steve King

Steve King, the Iowa congressman whose pet legislative project over the years has been trying to make English the official language of the United States, has a new nativist focus to latch onto: taking credit for Trump’s talk of ending birthright citizenship. As Samantha Bee pointed out on Wednesday, King’s xenophobia and racism are out in the open, since King kept a confederate flag in his office until very recently. Again, that office is located in Iowa, not even giving King the false “southern pride” excuse for displaying a white supremacist symbol.


Bee outlined how King’s beliefs manifest beyond office decorations, including his demonstration of how to electrify a border wall while remarking “we do that with livestock all the time.” Talking about immigrants like animals might seem unconscionable—at least, you would hope so—but as Bee noted, “party leadership did punish him with a firm back pat.” Republicans haven’t done much to condemn King’s support of neo-Nazi sympathizers either, beyond an occasional reprimand. Paul Ryan, whose legacy will be as a Trump enabler, has similarly failed to outright condemn King. “When Paul Ryan was asked about King’s thoughts on what color our babies should be, he yelled ‘tax cuts,’ threw a smoke bomb, and disappeared,” Bee joked.

While some GOP representatives have finally taken a stand against King’s behavior, Bee notes that conservatives have been much quicker to blame late-night comedians for incidents of violence than they are to blame Trump or King. “Which is fair,” said Bee. “We’ve all seen the violent acts inspired by Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Sync Battles.” At least Iowans have an opportunity to oust one of them this Tuesday: Polls show that after seven terms, there’s some hope that King might finally lose.