Republican lawmakers have voted stripped Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) of all his committee assignments as punishment for racist comments questioning when “white supremacist” became an offensive term.
Following a meeting of the Republican Steering Committee on Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters that King would not receive any committee assignments for the new Congress.
King faced bipartisan backlash after telling The New York Times in an interview published last week, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
King had been a member of the House Judiciary, Agriculture and Small Business committees and had also served as chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in the last Congress.
“We will not be seating Steve King on any committees in the 116th Congress,” McCarthy told reporters.
“Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth,” King said in a statement.
“Ultimately, I told him ‘You have to do what you have to do and I will do what I have to do.’ I will continue to point out the truth and work with all the vigor that I have to represent 4th District Iowans for at least the next two years,” King said.
“When I used the word ‘THAT’ it was in reference ONLY to Western Civilization and NOT to any previously stated evil ideology ALL of which I have denounced. My record as a vocal advocate for Western Civilization is nearly as full as my record in defense of Freedom of Speech.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, called for King to resign.
The Hill reports:
King has a long history of creating firestorms with remarks about race and immigration, especially in more recent years. Until now, GOP leaders had condemned his remarks without taking concrete punitive action.
In 2013, King said in an interview with Newsmax that for every undocumented immigrant who becomes a valedictorian, “there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” Then-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) at the time called King’s comments “deeply offensive and wrong.”
And in 2016, King questioned the historical contributions of nonwhite “subgroups” during an MSNBC segment, saying, “Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
In 2017, King tweeted that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”