Steve King may lose committee assignments due to pro-white supremacist comments

Rep. Steve King may lose committee positions due to his pro-white supremacist comments

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 13, 2019 4:00PM (EST)

Steve King (AP/Charlie Neibergall)
Steve King (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, may face some consequences for recent comments he made that defended white nationalism and white supremacism.

"That language has no place in America. That is not the America that I know. And it’s most definitely not the party of Lincoln," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday. He later added, "Action will be taken. I’m having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican Party."

After the on-camera interview, McCarthy elaborated to CBS host Margaret Brennan by saying that he is considering revoking at least some of King's congressional committee assignments as punishment for his racist remarks.

McCarthy's remarks echo the condemnation made by the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday. The group has also called for King to suffer punitive measures in terms of committee assignments as a result of his pro-white nationalist remarks.

"If Republicans really believe these racist statements have no place in our government, then their party must offer more than shallow temporary statements of condemnation," Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., explained in a statement, according to CNN. "Instead, they must actually condemn Mr. King by removing him from his committee assignments so that he can no longer affect policies that impact the very people he has made it clear he disdains."

In an interview with The New York Times that was published on Thursday, King defended the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" in an unabashed way.

"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?" King asked. The Iowa congressman has gotten in trouble in the past for his racist comments, including endorsing a candidate for mayor of Toronto who had neo-Nazi ties, following an Australian anti-Semitic activist on Twitter and meeting with a member of a far-right Austrian party that has diminished the Holocaust. King also had a Confederate flag in his office until recently, even though Iowa fought for the Union during the Civil War. His past racist statements include saying that "our civilization" can't be restored with "somebody else's babies," predicting that before non-whites become more numerous than whites in America that " Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other" and saying that African Americans could afford abortions if they stop buying iPhones, according to The Washington Post.

King's racist views are so controversial that the Sioux City Journal, a major newspaper in King's Iowa district, decided not to endorse King's reelection campaign in 2018. As the editorial board explained, King "holds up this district to ridicule and marginalizes himself within the legislative body he serves, neither of which provides benefit to Iowans who live and work here."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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