LAKESIDE, Iowa — GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy hit the campaign trail Wednesday with former Rep. Steve King, a controversial figure who lost his seat in 2020 after gaining notoriety for making racist remarks.
King once told The New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” He also earned condemnation from members of his own party for comments he once made about whether humans would exist if not for babies born as a result of rape and incest.
A one-time Republican powerbroker in Northwest Iowa, King has receded from the public spotlight since losing his House seat to now-Rep. Randy Feenstra, a fellow Republican who challenged him three years ago. But King appeared Wednesday with Ramaswamy, and while he hasn’t formally endorsed in the 2024 presidential race, his words left little doubt about how he felt.
“If I were going to give you a speech about all the things that I disagree with that I heard Vivek Ramaswamy say, it’d be the shortest speech of my life,” said King, introducing Ramaswamy to the microphone in Lakeside, Iowa, just a few miles away from where King was born, during a packed day of campaign events they attended together on Wednesday.
The two men first connected over a common cause: railing against the proposed use of eminent domain to build a carbon capture pipeline through Iowa. “Steve… you’ve actually been very helpful in my understanding of this issue,” Ramaswamy said, praising King during a campaign event regarding the pipeline on Dec. 1.