On Tuesday, December 15th, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that Representative Steve King had been removed from all committee assignments in the wake of Iowa Republican’s controversial comments to New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel.
In the interview, King stated, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization— how did that language become offensive?” Mr. King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
King faced an immediate backlash from both Republicans and Democrats. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated, “There is no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind. 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.”
Newly-elected Utah Senator Mitt Romney had even stronger words for King, as the freshman Republican stated to reporters on Monday the 14th, “Steve King’s comments are reprehensible. He ought to resign and move on and let someone else who represents American values take his seat.” Romney then added, “He should find a different line of work.”
House Democrats quickly mobilized in response to King’s comments. On Monday, Illinois Representative Bobby Rush introduced a bill that would formally censure King.
Rush simultaneously released a statement that stated, “Steve King’s pattern of comments harken back to the dark days of American history where his rabid, racist remarks would have been acceptable to a significant portion of our nation. This must come to a screeching halt right now. The U.S. Congress cannot be a platform for Steve King and those of his ilk. From Charleston to Charlottesville to Chicago to California, there is no home for this behavior, especially the floor of the United States House of Representatives.”
Representative King is no stranger to controversy. In March 2017, in a radio interview with Iowa radio station 1040 WHO, King predicted that Hispanics and blacks will be fighting each other before they outnumber white people in America.
In 2017, in response to a tweet from Dutch politician Geert Wilders, King replied, “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
King is now one of three GOP house representatives without a single committee assignment. The other two are Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, both of whom are under indictment, respectively, for insider trading and misusing campaign funds.
The Iowa Republican tweeted out a statement on Monday in response to the House Minority Leader’s decision, which he labeled an “Unprecedented assault on my freedom.” The statement also read, “Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committee is a political decision that ignores the truth.”