Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King is facing criticism from the GOP governor of his own state after a television report showed a Confederate flag among a group of small flags on his office desk.
The flag was first reported on the website Iowa Starting Line
by former Democratic campaign staffer Pat Rynard, who posted a screen grab of the report of King sitting behind his desk behind an array of small desk flags: the American flag, the Iowa state flag, the "Don't Tread on Me" Gadsden flag, the papal flag and the Confederate flag.
King has been a defender of the Confederate flag from a free speech perspective, and noted on the House floor after the Charleston, S.C. shootings that Germany has outlawed the swastika, but that the United States has a First Amendment free speech protection that allows people to fly the Civil War battle flag even though it is offensive and seen as a sign of racism to some.
As for his inclusion of the flag on his set of desktop flags, Rynard noted, "Perhaps he simply sees his office as a museum, displaying American heritage icons. Though the Gadsden and Papal State flags seem to represent who King is on a personal level, being a Tea Party supporter and Catholic."
Asked about King's display of the flag by USA Today
on Monday, Gov. Terry Branstad said he recognizes that some people want to respect those who fought for the South "for historical reasons," but does not think King should display the flag on his office desk.
"I don't agree with that, and I guess that's his decision," Branstad said. "People have a right to display whatever they want to. But I'm proud to say we're on the side of the Union. And we won the war."
Also noting that Iowa fought for the Union in the Civil War, Iowa-Nebraska NAACP State Area Conference of Branches, Betty Andrews told USA Today that the flag is "anti-Iowan."
"And given [King's] recent attempt to block Harriet Tubman from the $20 bill,
and of course his track record, I just think Iowa voters need to take another look at who they elected to office," she said.
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