House Republican leaders voted Monday to remove Rep. Steve King (R-IA) from all of his assigned committees after the Iowa Republican came under fire for his comments about white nationalism in a New York Times interview.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced Monday that the Republican Steering Committee voted not to give King any committee assignments in the current session of Congress.
McCarthy, in his statement announcing the decision, called King’s comments “beneath the dignity of the Party of Lincoln and the United States of America.”
“Steve’s remarks are beneath the dignity of the Party of Lincoln and the United States of America. His comments call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity,” McCarthy said in a statement.
“House Republicans are clear: We are all in this together, as fellow citizens equal before God and the law. As Congressman King’s fellow citizens, let us hope and pray earnestly that this action will lead to greater reflection and ultimately change on his part,” McCarthy added.
In the previous session of Congress, King had served on the House Agriculture, Judiciary, and Small Business committees. He also chaired the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice and was on his way to becoming a ranking member of that committee in the current session before the Steering Committee’s vote.
The Iowa Republican decried the committee’s decision as a “political decision that ignores the truth,” adding that the committee misinterpreted his remarks:
My Statement on Kevin McCarthy’s Unprecedented Assault on my Freedom of Speech. pic.twitter.com/0R0vP6MoWT
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) January 15, 2019
King faced pushback on Thursday after he told the Times that he raised questions about why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” are considered offensive.
His comments caused an uproar, prompting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to call his remarks “unworthy” of the office he holds.
“If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work,” McConnell said.
King released a statement clarifying his comments soon after the Times article went live, stating that the Times‘ assumption that he was “an advocate for white nationalism” was incorrect.
My statement on the New York Times article. pic.twitter.com/IjBHgZYgRD
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) January 10, 2019
King also “condemned” people who support bigotry and rejected “those labels and the evil ideology that they define.