Rep. Steve King Removed From House Committees Over Racial Comments

In this Jan. 23, 2014 photo, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, of Iowa speaks in Des Moines. A senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus is pushing formal punishment for King over his comments about white supremacy. Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush said Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, that he will introduce a censure resolution over the Iowa Republican’s remarks to the New York Times. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

(CN) – Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa was removed from his committee assignments by House Republicans Monday night following an interview last week in which he questioned why the term “white supremacist” was offensive.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced the unanimous decision of the House Republican Steering Committee on Monday, saying that King “will not be serving on committees in this Congress.”

“We will not tolerate this type of language in the Republican Party,” McCarthy said to reporters Monday. “I watched what Steve King said and we took action.”

McCarthy announced Sunday that King would face disciplinary actions for his statements.

In a written statement released Monday, McCarthy said that the Iowa congressman’s comments “call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity.

King, 69, previously served on the House Agriculture, Judiciary and Small Business committees and served a senior role on the Judiciary.

“Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth,” King said in a written statement Monday evening, calling a quote in a New York Times article “completely mischaracterized.”

In the interview with The Times, King asked: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization – how did that language become offensive?”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized King for the remarks in a written statement.

“There is no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind,” McConnell said. “I have no tolerance for such positions and those who espouse these views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. Rep. King’s statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, took it a step further and said King’s comments are “his own and his exclusively and what he said was reprehensible and ought to lead to his resignation from Congress.”

When asked about King’s statements on Monday, President Donald Trump told reporters he hadn’t kept up with the news.

“I really haven’t been following it,” Trump said.

Trump campaigned for King last year in Iowa.

McCarthy said Monday that they have not ruled out censuring King for his comments, while House Democrats are already proposing censure for him.  

This is not the first time King has drawn fire for making racist comments. In August, he spoke with a far-right publication in Austria about “the Great Replacement,” a far-right conspiracy theory that claims national leaders in certain countries are trying to reduce the population of white people.

In a tweet written last year, King said “culture and demographics are our destiny.”

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