U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, on Monday weighed in on the controversial weekend events in Charlottesville, Virginia, which involved race-fueled violence that followed protests by white nationalists who didn't want a Confederate statue from the Civil War era taken down.
King said he agreed with a column in which former congressman Allen West said important pieces of American history should remain as learning lessons and that the political left was using the incident as a way to boost their progressive agenda.
Less than a year ago, King had a Confederate flag on his congressional desk.
On Monday, President Donald Trump held a press conference to further air his views on what happened in Charlottesville, after some criticized the president's original remarks on Saturday that there had been violence on "many sides." In those remarks, Trump did not single out white supremacists or any other hate group, even as Republican lawmakers and others in his White House did condemn them by name.
Trump on Monday condemned the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as "criminals and thugs."
"Unite the Right" was the name given to the Virginia rally that ended in bloodshed, when a car plowed into a crowd of demonstrators, killing a 32-year-old woman. King ended a long break of inactivity (17 days) on his official Twitter account Monday, to give his apparent first public comments about Charlottesville.
King tweeted, "I agree w\Lt. Col. Allen West's Charlottesville article. American history is to be learned & understood not erased."
King then shared a column by Allen West from Sunday, titled, "Ok folks, here’s what REALLY happened in Charlottesville – and what everyone is missing."
Here are some points made by West:
-- "What I have witnessed post the events of Saturday 12 August is the typical Rahm Emanuel mentality and political posturing: 'never let a good crisis go to waste.'"
-- "I fully support seeking the death penalty for 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio who committed this horrific act of violence. But, how did we get to this place? This all began because someone decided, as other elected officials have across the country, to cave in to partisan political pressures and seek to erase American history."
-- "The statues of long since deceased leaders of the Confederate Army do not stand to remind anyone of oppression. And if a statue can oppress you, then I submit that you have greater issues."
-- West noted the group had a legal permit to protest, writing, "What should have happened is that these two groups should have been kept miles apart. I do not understand why any local law enforcement agency would allow these two groups close proximity…first lesson learned. And we must also ascertain, did the counter-protest group seek permit or did they just 'show up' in order to provoke, and elicit a response they could use 'politically?'"
--"I find it rather odd that so many are seeking to lay blame on President Trump for what happened in Charlottesville. And there are some voices out there who want to blame all white people, and all Republicans. How odd that when it was the New Black Panther Party outside a voting precinct in Philadelphia in black fatigues and with clubs, nothing was said."
-- "And when it was the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore fueled by media false narratives and a presidential administration’s rhetoric, there was no blame laid on Barack Obama."
King represents the Iowa 4th Congressional District. In a Journal interview in March, King said he removed a Confederate flag from the desk in his Capitol Hill office in the aftermath of the fall 2016 shooting deaths of two Des Moines area police officers by a man with ties to the controversial banner.
King pointed out he voluntarily removed the flag "not because anyone demanded or requested that it come down."
In a July 9, 2015, speech on the House floor, King argued the flag, a symbol of heroism and pride for many Southerners, shouldn't be pulled down.