Rep. Steve King posted a meme Saturday about a hypothetical civil war between “blue states” fighting over which bathroom to use and “red states” with trillions of bullets.
The post is an image of two figures composed of traditionally Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning states in fighting postures with text superimposed over top. The caption reads: “Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.”
“Wonder who would win?” the Iowa Republican wrote on Facebook.
The image appears to have originated in a 2013 New York Times book review by Michael Kinsley titled “War of Umbrage.”
King’s post comes at a time when Muslim civil rights leaders and others have urged political leaders to be thoughtful in their rhetoric in light of the mass shooting targeting two New Zealand mosques last week that left at least 50 people dead.
King may have posted the meme without much deliberation, as it escaped his notice that Iowa is pictured as a “blue state.”
The post follows weeks of lobbying by King for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to reinstate him to congressional committee posts.
King was stripped of committee assignments by congressional leadership following years of white nationalist statements, most recently in an interview with The New York Times.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in the January article.
King disputes the quote in a letter to McCarthy that he has asked supporters to endorse.
“In January 2019, The New York Times misquoted me and misrepresented my beliefs as a freedom-loving American,” King wrote.
The form letter also includes a button to donate to the King for Congress political committee.
King was defiant in a February interview with Iowa Public Television, insisting “I have nothing to apologize for.”
While King disavowed white nationalism, he also argued that term has been “weaponized by the left” to mean racism, but did not provide his own definition of the term.
King has often voiced the far-right theory that immigration and diversity will lead to a collapse of Western civilization. Advocacy groups dedicated to rooting out hate speech say “Western civilization” used in that context is a euphemism for whites.
King voted “present” on a resolution condemning religious intolerance earlier this month.