Steve King's racist comments finally cost him: Iowa Republican stripped of committee positions

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was stripped of his committee positions by GOP leaders after recent comments

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 15, 2019 8:27AM (EST)

Steve King (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Steve King (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is facing the loss of his committee positions as a result of comments he made earlier this month supporting white nationalism and white supremacism.

"That is not the party of Lincoln. It is definitely not American. All people are created equal in America, and we want to take a very strong stance about that," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a statement following the decision by House Republicans to punish King.

The Republican Steering Committee in the House of Representatives unanimously voted on Monday to deny King positions on any committees within that legislative chamber. Because King had previously served on the House Judiciary Committee, House Agricultural Committee and House Small Business Committee, the Steering Committee's decision effectively stripped him of his positions on those three committees.

King denounced McCarthy's decision on Monday, declaring that "Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth. . . . Ultimately, I told him, ‘You have to do what you have to do, and I will do what I have to do."

Yet others in the Republican Party also applauded it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. said that there is "no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind" while Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, called on King to resign.

The controversy began when King told The New York Times that he didn't see a problem with the use of the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist."

"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 told the Times during the controversial interview. It wasn't the first time that King had made controversial comments about race: He has previously said that "our civilization" can't be restored with "somebody else's babies," predicted that "Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other" before non-whites outnumber whites and speculated that more African-Americans could afford abortions if they stopped buying iPhones. He has also followed an Australian anti-Semitic activist on Twitter, met with a member of a far-right Austrian party involved in Holocaust denial and placed a Confederate flag in his office despite the fact that Iowa fought for the Union during the Civil War.

Because of King's racist views, the Sioux City Journal decided not to endorse his reelection campaign in 2018, explaining that the congressman "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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