US congressman punished for remark defending white supremacy

Rep. Steve King insists that he was misunderstood and was not defending white supremacy. 

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

House Republican leaders removed one of their own, Representative Steve King of Iowa, from the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees on Monday night in the wake of bipartisan condemnation of King’s recent remarks on white supremacy and white nationalism.

In an interview with the New York Times published last week, King said: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

The congressman has been censured before for making racist comments and insulting immigrants, but this time, Republicans have joined Democrats in widely criticizing him.

Speaking to reporters on Monday night after the House Republican leadership team acted, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, said he was not ruling out supporting a censure or reprimand resolution against King. He said the Republicans are not removing King from the G.O.P. House conference itself, so he can still attend the party meetings.

McCarthy said that it would be up to the voters in Iowa to decide whether King should stay in office.

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McCarthy, who met privately with King for an hour before the move by House Republican leaders, did not explain why the most recent comments were a breaking point, considering King’s record of similar remarks. “Maybe I did not see those, but I disagree with these,” McCarthy said.

The full Republican conference must still technically ratify the leader’s decision, but McCarthy presented the matter as final.

In a statement, King countered that his comments were misunderstood. He claimed that when he asked “how did that language become offensive,” he was referring to the term “Western civilization” and not “white nationalist” or “white supremacist.” He pledged to continue to “point out the truth” and serve his district for “at least the next two years,” in other words, until the completion of this term.

President Donald Trump was asked by reporters on Monday about King’s comments and replied, “I haven’t been following it.”