WASHINGTON – House Republican leaders will try to remove Congressman Steve King of Iowa from several committees, including the Judiciary Committee, as punishment for his endorsement of white supremacism last week, The New York Times reported on Monday.
King caused an uproar after telling the Times in an interview that his racist ideology was core to his identity as an American.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in the interview. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met with King on Monday night on Capitol Hill to admonish him for the comment, and brief him on the party’s plans. Several Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and both of Iowa’s senators, have condemned King’s rhetoric as racist.
However, US President Donald Trump declined to condemn the remarks, pressed to comment by reporters at the White House on Monday. Trump said that he had not followed the report, despite national media coverage of the matter in recent days and his earlier tweets on other current scandals involving Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
In the past, Trump has feigned ignorance to avoid condemning white supremacist groups. When David Duke, an avowed neo-Nazi, endorsed his campaign for the presidency, Trump deflected questions on the matter by claiming he did not know about him.
King won reelection to his seat in the House two months ago. But the lawmaker, who has served in Congress since 2003, has a long history of racist rhetoric. He has warned against the dissolution of white Christian culture in America with “someone else’s babies” and visited with neo-Nazi figures in central Europe lamenting Germany’s loss of national pride since the end of World War II.