Two adult children of Steve West — Republican candidate for the Missouri House’s 15th District — say voters should not elect their father, The Kansas City Star reports.
In comments published Tuesday, Emily and Andy West condemned their father’s ideology, which Andy described as “pure hatred … totally insane.”
Emily West told the paper that her father has “made multiple comments that are racist and homophobic and how he doesn’t like the Jews.”
The siblings’ comments come after a Star report in August on West’s history of “bigotry including homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and outright racism.” The report included condemnation of West’s comments from the Missouri Republican Party and a concerned statements from an Anti-Defamation League spokesperson.
The newspaper documented comments West has made as a conservative radio show host, including a quote in which he reportedly said, “Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it.”
West told USA TODAY in a Wednesday phone interview that he is not anti-Semitic and contended that some of his previous comments had been taken out of context.
He detailed extensive grievances with Israel and Jewish people, which he said were political disagreements not connected to race. He also offered a strong critique of Islam’s role in Middle-Eastern politics.
During the interview, West was especially critical of Israel’s “Law of Return,” a law that grants automatic Israeli citizenship to those who meet the nation’s definition of a Jew.
Citing that law, West said Jewish people have an “ideology that follows with their race, their loyalty is not to America.”
West said he renounced anti-Semitic violence and called last week’s Pittsburgh synagogue attack that killed 11 people “deplorable” and “inexcusable.”
In comments to the Star, Andy West said his father was not a violent man but that he shared the “same objective” as those who commit anti-Semitic violence: “That objective is the removal of Jews from America. And certainly, if somebody who is already unstable gets the kind of message that he’s preaching, it’s all bad.”
West told USA TODAY that the children, who he said are in their mid 20s, were caught up in a “very toxic divorce.” His campaign website says he has an adopted daughter and two children from marriage.
“They’re kids” who are easily influenced by culture and social media, he said.
Contributing: Adrienne Sanders and Lee Higgins, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News
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