U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was stripped of his committee assignments in Congress by House Republicans on Monday evening. It seems the backlash from King’s recent remarks on white supremacy and white nationalism finally caused the Republican Party to take action. But why are Republicans now outraged when King has been sharing his racist beliefs for years
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization how did that language become offensive” King asked, in an interview with The New York Times, published last week. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization”
After bipartisan backlash, King insisted, in a statement, that his use of “that language” was referring “ONLY to Western Civilization and NOT to any previously stated evil ideology ALL of which I have denounced.”
But, on Saturday, the Congressional Black Caucus called for House Republicans to remove King from further committee assignments.
King’s recent racist comments drew the ire of Republican colleagues:
“We will not tolerate this type of language in the Republican Party … or in the Democratic Party as well,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-Calif.), told reporters. “I watched what Steve King said and we took action.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “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.”
Prior to this recent denouncement, King, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2003, and was re-elected to office in November, had support from the Republican establishment, despite his racist history.
In October, King endorsed Faith Goldy, an openly white supremacist candidate for mayor of Toronto. He often praises far-right politicians and groups in other countries. And, retweets neo-Nazis.
In 2016, at the Republican National Convention, King said that “civilization” is what it is because white people have contributed more to it than any other “subgroup.”
“The outspoken congressman commands tremendous influence among conservatives who agree with his staunch stances on immigration, abortion, and same-sex marriage, especially in his western Iowa district,” the National Review wrote of King in 2015.
In 2013, in alignment with his anti-immigration stance, he claimed that more than 99 percent of DREAMers are drug mules, and for every child of illegal immigrants “who’s 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.”
So why is the Republican establishment denouncing him now Perhaps the party is trying to redeem its popularity, especially amid the partial government shut down.
In a new Washington Post poll, “53 percent said President Trump and congressional Republicans were responsible for the shutdown, while only 29 percent blamed congressional Democrats.”