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Rep. King yells at man questioning him about extremism, boots heckler from event

The incident comes a day after the Iowa Republican was scolded by a top GOP congressional leader for his comments.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, arrives for a closed-door interview with Peter Strzok, the FBI agent facing criticism following a series of anti-Trump text messages, on Capitol Hill on June 27, 2018.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, erupted in anger and kicked a man out of an event on Thursday after the man questioned King's connection to white supremacist ideology and linked it to the recent Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

Kaleb Van Fossen, who was identified by The Des Moines Register as the questioner, asked King about his past controversial comments, which prompted a fiery response from the lawmaker.

Van Fossen told King: "As I'm sure all of us already heard, this Saturday there was a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh that tragically left 11 people dead. And the terrorist who committed this crime, he was quoted as saying, 'They bring in baiters and then kill our people. I can't sit back and watch our people get slaughtered.'"

"You, Steve King, have been quoted as saying, 'We can't restore our civilization with other people's babies.' You and the shooter both share an ideology that is anti-immigration," Van Fossen said.

King, who is running for re-election, quickly shouted down Van Fossen.

"No! Don't you do that!" King yelled. "Do not associate me with that shooter. I knew you were an ambusher when you walked in the room, but there is no basis for that and you get no question and you get no answer."

Van Fossen continued to press King, asking him what "distinguishes" his past comments with that of the Pittsburgh suspect, who has expressed anti-Semitic views, and whether the lawmaker identifies himself as a white supremacist.

"No, you’re done! We don’t play these games here in Iowa," said King, who insisted the protester be removed.

King was speaking at a candidate forum in Des Moines. Van Fossen is a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, which also held a protest against King outside the event, according to The Des Moines Register.

King, an anti-immigration hard-liner, has come under intense scrutiny for his sharp opposition to diversity in America, which he said is "not a strength."

He also praised Austria's Freedom Party, which was founded by a former Nazi SS officer, for its anti-immigration platform and endorsed a candidate running for mayor in Toronto who has espoused white supremacist views.

Rep. Steve Stivers, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the House GOP campaign arm, excoriated King on Tuesday for espousing white supremacist viewpoints online and in public remarks, saying the lawmaker's behavior is "completely inappropriate" and "we must stand up against white supremacy and hate in all forms."

King pushed back on the accusation Tuesday in a statement, saying he valued the country's diversity and "legal immigrants."