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US Politics

‘Hitler was right’: lurid bigotry of Steve West, Republican primary winner in Missouri, is revealed

West has used his radio show and the alter-ego of ‘Jack Justice’ to promote fanatical conspiracies about ‘Jewish cabals … harvesting baby parts’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 August, 2018, 10:31am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 August, 2018, 11:04am

On his Monday morning radio show, Steve West promotes fanatical conspiracies about “Jewish cabals” that are “harvesting baby parts” through Planned Parenthood, that torture and molest children and that run the Republican Party.

On Tuesday he won the Republican primary for a Clay County seat in the Missouri House.

“Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it,” West said on a show on KCXL radio on January 23, 2017.

West won the 15th District nomination in a four-candidate race by nearly 25 points. Besides his radio show, he also has a YouTube channel and a website. Donning a wig and fake beard and calling himself Jack Justice, he has unleashed an array of bigotry including homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and outright racism.

“I’m trying to get sense of why he flew under the radar, and I’m not sure I have a great answer,” said Karen Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. “What is a person who is elected into a position of power going to do with beliefs like this?”

Neither the Clay County Republican Party nor the state party responded to requests for comment. KCXL did not reply to a request for comment.

West, reached by phone Thursday afternoon, said he wanted to talk about “the issues” and his platform. He declined to speak about statements he is made that he said have been taken out of context.

Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it
Steve West

“You guys want to make it an issue, you can go there, but I’m not going to comment on that,” he said. He then asked if he could call back in a few minutes, and hung up.

When he called back, he said: “I’m not running as a radio show host, I’m running for state representative. I’m sorry. I’m not going to have this discussion.”

Pressed to clarify his Hitler comment, he questioned its validity until a reporter cited the date and time of the recording. West then said that he’d been taken out of context. He said that he believes all men are created equal, but not all ideologies are equal. Specifically, he said, he finds fault with Islam and Judaism.

He said Islam is a political movement masquerading as a religion and that it’s trying to create an autocratic theocracy in the US, and that it should be stripped of all benefits religions receive.

“Jewish people can be beautiful people, but there’s ideologies associated with that that I don’t agree with,” he went on. “Jews today are a remnant of the tribe of Judah that rejected Christ.”

He again asked to speak about issues related to the job of a state representative. When asked about Jewish people in Missouri, he said, “Well, maybe they shouldn’t vote for me.”

At no point did West apologise for or retract his comments. He asked that people listen to his remarks in full to make up their own minds.

Although West’s most overtly bigoted and offensive statements were sent anonymously to a reporter on Thursday, he had enough “dog whistles” before the election that voters should have known better than to support him, Aroesty said. She said her opinion is coming from a place of principle over politics because the Anti-Defamation League is an apolitical organisation.

A dog whistle, she said, is when someone hints at extremist beliefs in such a way that others who hold those beliefs will know, but they retain plausible deniability.

Some example of dog whistles from West’s statements before the election include him saying things like “Islam is a problem for America. … It is a political movement masquerading as religion and should not receive the benefits we provide religious institutions as well as access to our prisons” and “Many parents and students don’t want to have to deal with alternative sex ed, and the LGBT clubs and staff at all the public high schools today”.

“It’s a subtle form of hatred,” Aroesty said. “Not open, but it should be watched, in some ways, more carefully than if someone was openly extreme.”