Weekly Standard Editor Blasts Republican Steve King as a 'Foul, Disgusting Liar and a Stain on American Public Life'

Liberals have repeatedly criticized Iowa Republican Representative Steve King for his affiliations with white nationalists and racist flirtations. Now some conservatives, particularly "never Trumpers," have joined the chorus.

On Sunday, a conservative magazine editor issued a stinging rebuke of King, who had cheered the collapse of The Weekly Standard magazine, which had critically covered King, and announced on Friday that it would be shutting down.

The problem with this tweet is that you are a foul, disgusting liar and a stain on American public life. The stench of your deceit and your views pollutes your district, your state, your party, and the United States. https://t.co/6Aate5nHSb

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) December 16, 2018

"The problem with this tweet is that you are a foul, disgusting liar and a stain on American public life," John Podhoretz, one of the magazine's co-founders and a contributing editor wrote. "The stench of your deceit and your views pollutes your district, your state, your party, and the United States."

Earlier in the day, King reiterated President Trump's tweet that the publication was "pathetic and dishonest," writing that the president "is right on. The Weekly Standard's deserved demise ('pathetic and dishonest'). If the articles targeting me were redacted until only truth remained, there would not be much left to read."

Representative Steve King speaks during a hearing where Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before the House Judiciary Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The congressman's objections to the magazine, led by conservatives who opposed Trump, appeared to refer to an article published last month, which reported that King had referred to immigrants as dirt.

During an exchange with an audience member at a campaign speech on November 5, King was talking about jalapeño peppers when he said, "I raised a bunch this year, and they don't have enough bite. I guess I'm going to have to go and get some dirt from Mexico to grow the next batch."

Someone in the crowd responded "trust me, it's already on its way"

"Well, yeah, there's plenty of dirt, it's coming from the West Coast, too. And a lot of other places, besides. This is the most dirt we've ever seen," King said, seemingly referring to the migrant caravan that was walking from Honduras to seek asylum in the U.S.

The congressman subsequently claimed that the magazine was publishing "leftist lies." The outlet then published audio of the statements.

Rachael @RachaelBL Just release the full tape. Leftists lies exist without original sources because they are false and manufactured accusations. Weekly Standard is transitioning into “Antifa News”. https://t.co/oeoQ0c2QJ2

— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) November 10, 2018

The incident emphasized the fissures between "never-Trump" conservatives and supporters of the president, like King.

"The Weekly Standard became the de facto voice of the neoconservative movement under President George W. Bush as its writers lustily cheered on the Iraq War," The Washington Post reported. "But as [co-founder Bill] Kristol emerged as one of the loudest conservative voices against Trump, the magazine he edited until 2016 likewise became a harsh critic of the populist president and his allies."

The Weekly Standard's reporting on King had noted King's endorsement of a white nationalist running for the mayor of Toronto, his former display of a Confederate flag in his office, his disparagement of Hispanic immigrants and his meeting with a far-right Austrian party with historical links to the Nazis.

Despite King's attempt to portray the outlet as a "leftist" advocacy platform, progressives have bristled at the publication, whose demise was met with lamentation from a range of individuals across the political spectrum.

"The Weekly Standard was not a journalistic institution," Jon Schwarz wrote for The Intercept, comparing the publication to Fox News. "Fox was chum for the rubes; The Weekly Standard was chum for Ivy League rubes. Fox pushed mindless belligerence, conspiracism and a deep hatred for reality; the Weekly Standard did the same thing, but with less cleavage and more quotes from Cicero."