Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday took steps to kick racist Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King off of all House committees on which he has been serving. King will lose his committee assignments following a media firestorm caused by his most recent outlandish racist remarks.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters after a meeting of the Republican Steering Committee that King would not receive any committee assignments for the new Congress.
“That is not the party of Lincoln,” McCarthy said of King’s comments. “It is definitely not American. All people are created equal in America, and we want to take a very strong stance about that.”
“We will not be seating Steve King on any committees in the 116th Congress,” McCarthy told reporters.
King immediately fought back, denouncing the GOP leaders’ move to remove him from committee assignments, calling it a “political decision that ignores the truth.”
“Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth,” King said in a statement after the California congressman made the announcement to reporters that the controversial House member from Iowa would be removed from all of his previous committee assignments.
King faced public outrage and bipartisan congressional criticism 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 has been a member of the House Judiciary, Agriculture and Small Business committees for many years. He had also previously served as chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice during the last Congress. He would have been its ranking member under the new Democratic majority.
The move by GOP leaders severely hinders King’s influence as a member of Congress. For an Iowa congressman the Agriculture Committee is considered an especially important assignment, and losing this will hurt King’s ability to serve his constituents in the heavily rural Iowa congressional district he represents.
King insisted that his remarks were taken out of context and criticized McCarthy’s decision. But King made no indication that he plans to resign, even though many people, including new Utah senator Mitt Romney, have demanded that he do so.
Referencing his conversation yesterday with McCarthy, King said:
“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.”
“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.”
House Democrats are expected to put a resolution introduced by Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) on the floor for a vote on Tuesday to formally disapprove of King’s remarks. On Saturday the Congressional Black Caucus on condemned King for his comments which they deemed racist and unacceptable.
After two other House Democrats introduced resolutions on Monday to censure King, McCarthy said he would be open to possibly supporting a vote on the floor censuring him. McCarthy told reporters: “I’d read the resolution, but I do not agree with his remarks. I would support something saying that I did not agree with his remarks.”
McCarthy declined to say if King should step down or be expelled from the House GOP conference, saying that “the voters of his district make those decisions.”
King has a long history of creating controversy with his racist, anti-immigrant statements. Until yesterday Republican leaders had issued statements condemning his remarks but had never taken any 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?”
King tweeted in 2017 that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.