U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake is supporting Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King’s Democratic rival, citing King’s white nationalist rhetoric and associations to white nationalist groups and individuals.
Flake, an Arizona Republican who is not seeking re-election, made the announcement Friday during an appearance on CNN.
His decision to support Democrat J.D. Scholten of Sioux City comes as King, an eight-term congressman, is increasingly drawing fire for comments about immigration and multiculturalism, LGTBQ rights, affirmative action, climate change and other issues.
“We have a candidate on our side of the aisle who isn’t exactly making things easy for Republicans moving forward. It’s not the best face of the party,” Flake said. “Some of the statements he’s made over the years with regard to migrants coming across the southern border, and more recent comments in this regard, have just not been good for the country, certainly not good for the party.”
In the wake of the Tree of Life killings in Pittsburgh, two Iowa Jewish leaders slammed King for holding similar anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic views as the shooter. The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee abandoned King, and three major U.S. companies said they would no longer support King’s campaign.
Flake’s criticism of President Donald Trump has estranged him from many in GOP circles, causing him to abandon his 2018 re-election bid after a single term in the Senate.
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