WASHINGTON — Republican Rep. Steve King will be blocked from committee assignments for the next two years after lamenting that white supremacy and white nationalism have become offensive terms.
King, in his ninth term representing Iowa, will not be given committee assignments in the Congress that began this month, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday night. King served on the Agriculture, Small Business and Judiciary Committees in the last Congress, and he chaired Judiciary’s subcommittee on the Constitution and civil justice.
McCarthy, R-Calif., called King’s remarks “beneath the dignity of the Party of Lincoln and the United States of America.”
King’s comments “call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity,” McCarthy said, adding: “House Republicans are clear: We are all in this together, as fellow citizens equal before God and the law.”
The action by the GOP steering committee came after King and McCarthy met Monday to discuss the remarks on white supremacy.
King called McCarthy’s decision to remove him from committees “a political decision that ignores the truth.” He vowed to “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.”
Earlier Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell became the highest-ranking Republican to speak out against King.
There’s “no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind,” McConnell said.
Meanwhile, three House Democrats, including the No. 3 Democratic leader, announced plans to try to sanction King for his statements.
“I have no tolerance for such positions and those who espouse these views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms,” McConnell said in a written statement. “Rep. King’s statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position. If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.
Three House Democrats said they would introduce measures disapproving of King.
Reps. Bobby L. Rush of Illinois and Tim Ryan of Ohio said the House should censure King Censure is a rarely invoked punishment for conduct bringing dishonor on the House, the most serious punishment that can be levied on one of its members short of expulsion.
And House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said he would introduce a measure reprimanding King, a sanction considered less serious than censure.
The most recent controversy was touched off when King asked in a New York Times interview published last week, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
King is a figure of prominence in the House GOP, not only due to the controversies he has stoked but also as a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, a leader in opposing legalized abortion and chairman of the Conservative Opportunity Society, an internal caucus of right-wing House Republicans that meets regularly.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.