GOP congressman claims he won't 'allow hate and bigotry' after defending it

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Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers once defended an anti-Semitic ad from the House campaign committee he ran in 2018.

Ohio GOP Rep. Steve Stivers vowed Wednesday he would never vote to give Rep. Steve King (R-IA) his committee assignments back, declaring that he would "not allow hate & bigotry to influence the legislation passed by Congress."

Stivers was referring to King's recent claims that House Republican leadership would hold a vote to reinstate his committee assignments, which were stripped after King made racist comments in January last year questioning why white supremacy was considered "offensive."

"I am a member of the Republican Steering Committee and former NRCC Chairman, and as long as I am a member of the Steering Committee, I will not allow that type of person or that type of ideology to influence the legislation passed by Congress," Stivers said in an Instagram post, that included a photo with "STAND AGAINST RACISM" written in all capital letters.

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"He will not be serving on any committee," he added. "Steve King does more to hurt Republican and conservative causes than help."

However when Stivers served as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee — the House GOP's campaign arm which he referenced on Wednesday — the committee ran several racist and anti-Semitic ads, some of which Stivers himself defended at the time.

In October 2018, days before the midterm elections, Stivers defended an NRCC attack ad against a Democratic candidate that featured philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros sitting behind a stack of money.

The ad ran in the days after a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, which was carried out by an anti-Semite who had allegedly embraced GOP conspiracy theories about Soros prior to the shooting.

Stivers said that an independent arm of the NRCC made the ad, but defended its contents.

"That ad is factual," Stivers said at the time. "And it also has nothing to do with calling for violence. That ad is a factual ad."

Stivers also declined to condemn an overtly racist ad the NRCC ran against now-Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY), which painted Delgado as a "big-city rapper" clad in a hoodie.

King claimed in an interview with a local radio station last month that he had spoken with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and that the two had "reached an understanding" on reinstating him to his prior committee assignments.

"The only barrier in the way of putting back all my committees, perhaps incrementally as there are openings that can be created, is to get a formal meeting of the Steering Committee because they're officially the ones who make that decision," he said at the time.

He claimed it "wasn't right to make him wait until after the November election" to reinstate him.

McCarthy has not yet commented publicly on the matter.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.