Yet while the president has made clear his determination to head off a “blue wave” of Democrats in Congress, Trump appears to be making no effort on behalf of King, who is in a tight race to retain the House seat he’s held since 2003 to a well-funded, first-time Democratic contender.
A number of theories have been floated for Trump’s reticence, but a former campaign official with knowledge of the president’s thinking believes his political advisors “highlighted to the president the dangers of getting behind someone like Steve King, who is a well-known white supremacist.”
King became more well known as a white supremacist in the last couple of weeks as reports surfaced of his meeting earlier this year with members of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, which was founded by a former Nazi SS officer. In the wake of the synagogue massacre, many Republicans rushed to distance themselves from him.
But even before then, Trump had been keeping King — who is known for an anti-immigrant stance that is if anything even stronger than the president’s own — “at an arm’s length,” according to the Trump campaign official.