AT&T PAC Pulls Support From Iowa Republican Steve King

(Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc.’s political action committee is pulling its support from Iowa Republican Steve King, becoming the latest corporate donor to end contributions to the embattled congressman over his embrace of white nationalists and for rhetoric that has been denounced as racist.

“The AT&T employees who manage the disbursements of our employee PAC have now had the opportunity to review the controversy regarding Rep. Steve King, and have determined that the PAC will not make future contributions to him. The committee concluded that further support of Rep. King would not be consistent with one of our core values …‘Stand for Equality,’” the company’s public policy team said in two tweets Friday.

Dairy giant Land O’Lakes, semiconductor maker Intel Corp. and Purina PetCare said earlier this week they also would no longer support King. And in an extraordinary disavowal, Representative Steve Stivers, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, renounced King just a week before midterm elections that will decide control of Congress.

The massacre of 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue brought new attention to King’s incendiary comments about race and association with white nationalism.

King, who’s made derogatory remarks about immigrants, has also expressed admiration for Viktor Orban, the right-wing prime minister of Hungary, and tweeted support for Orban’s attacks on George Soros, a billionaire supporter of the Democratic Party.

He also recently tweeted his endorsement of Faith Goldy to be the next mayor of Toronto. Goldy has been tied to white supremacists. King also has been at the forefront of a right-wing push to end so-called birthright citizenship, a goal President Donald Trump has highlighted in recent days.

“Congressman Steve King’s recent comments, actions, and retweets are completely inappropriate,” Stivers, an Ohio Republican, said on Twitter. “We must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms, and I strongly condemn this behavior.”

In an interview on Wednesday, after Stivers’s statement, King said his critics failed to offer anything specific.

"It’s uninformed. If it wasn’t, they would’ve cited something that gave them grief," King said on Wednesday. "Same with Stivers. If you attack someone and you don’t cite anything, you’re just a cannibal. That’s all you are."

King, 69, is running against Democrat J.D. Scholten, a former minor league baseball player from Sioux City. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has downgraded King’s race from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.” Scholten has received a flood of financial support for his challenge to the eight-term representative, raising $1.7 million to King’s $741,000 for this election cycle.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.