If anything, 2017 was a quotable year. Here are four that sum up a year’s worth of news in the Hawkeye State.
“Several of the staff members interviewed indicated they possess a fear of retaliation, which is why they did not feel comfortable reporting any instances of harassment.” — Senate GOP internal report on sexual harassment at the Statehouse.
Although several quotes surrounding the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus sexual harassment scandal that put taxpayers on the hook for $1.75 million could be used — many of them absurdities uttered by Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix as he has repeatedly attempted to whitewash bad behavior — this statement from the GOP’s internal investigation is most troubling. To date, no one has been held accountable and Statehouse employees, which include teenage legislative pages, remain fearful of retaliation.
POLITICAL PURITY TEST
“We had Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska, he crosses the Missouri River, and in that sanctimonious tone talks about what he doesn’t like about Donald Trump. You know what, Sen. Sasse? I really don’t care what you like. We love Donald Trump. And if you don’t love him, I suggest you stay on your side of the Missouri River.” — Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann
Partisan infighting has been a hallmark of Democratic and Republican politics this year, but Chairman Kaufmann wins the prize. While speaking at a Trump event in Cedar Rapids, Kaufmann took on the usual suspects (liberals and the media), but saved his greatest ire for a member of his own political party. Afterward, Kaufmann told Politico that Sasse, a former university president, is “an arrogant academic.”
“ … America’s black community … turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity.” — the Rev. Jamie Johnson
“I always believed that in the day following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon, that George W. Bush made a critical mistake … He began to say … Islam is a religion of peace.” — the Rev. Jamie Johnson
Although not spoken during 2017, these statements are a sample of what led an Iowa pastor to resign in November from his Trump appointment to lead faith-based and neighborhood partnerships within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These and other statements critical of women, minorities and non-Christian religious groups were primarily said on WHO Radio. Unlike that station, “the swamp” appears to have limits.
“We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” — U.S. Rep. Steve King
I’ve come to understand that a year can’t be complete unless U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District makes a glaringly racist statement. In 2017, he delivered this disgusting salvo via tweet in March.
Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke responded: “GOD BLESS STEVE KING. #TruthRISING” At least Iowans can rest assured that King is making friends.
This column by Lynda Waddington originally published in The Gazette on Dec. 30, 2017.