Steve King, who represents Orange City as a U.S. Representative for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, has been stripped of his committee duties and is facing hostility from members of both parties. In recent months, King has been in the news for controversial comments about immigrants and other minority groups. His newest commentary has had tough consequences for him on Capitol Hill.
According to the New York Times, King has previously “publicly promoted white nationalists and neo-Nazis on Twitter and disparaged nonwhite groups for years.” Despite most of this and more happening before the midterm election this past November, in which King was up for re-election, he was still chosen again to represent the 4th District – although by a surprisingly small margin for this historically conservative area.
It seems the final straw for members of the GOP was an interview with the New York Times in which King wondered why terms such as “white nationalist” had become offensive, according to CNN. Despite condemning both white nationalism and white supremacy, King does define himself as a nationalist, which was made clear in a press release sent out by his office dated Jan. 10.
The Washington, D.C.-based news outlet The Hill reports that Utah Senator and former GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney was the first Republican on Capitol Hill to suggest King’s resignation.
Other congressmen who have urged King’s resignation or condemned his remarks include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Rep. Chris Stuart (R-Utah), Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).
The latter two went as far to suggest censuring King, which means Congress would issue a formal statement of disapproval. Iowan Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst – both Republicans – have also stated their disapproval of King.
Senator Tim Scott, who is the only black GOP senator, released an opinion editorial in the Washington Post where he denounced King’s comments.
“When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole,” Scott wrote.
He also went on to lament how his party has been quiet on similar issues in the past: “Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who also serves as the House Minority Leader, met with the House Republican Steering Committee last Monday, Jan. 14, to discuss how to deal with King.
This particular committee supervises representatives’ committee assignments and decided to formally strip King of his. He was serving on the House Judiciary and Agriculture committees.
The backlash that King has received for his racist comments leaves many wondering why party leaders have not responded the same way to anything said by President Trump, who has not denounced King’s words and said he hasn’t been paying attention to the news about King.
King’s comments also leave room for consideration of other candidates in the 2020 election, in which Iowa will have yet another chance to choose someone over King. Other Iowa Republicans are already eyeing King’s congressional seat.