House denounces white supremacy; Steve King supports resolution of rebuke
Rep. Steve King voted Tuesday to denounce white supremacy joining the very colleagues who had intended the vote to be a rebuke to the Iowa Republican and recent controversial statements attributed to him.
The 424-1 vote follows a decision a day earlier by House Republicans to keep Mr. King from serving on any committees this Congress, effectively sidelining him from much of the business of Capitol Hill.
Lawmakers said the moves one symbolic, the other substantive were intended to draw lines in American political discussion, making it clear that racist rhetoric, or anything that could be taken that way, should not be tolerated.
“If we do not speak out now, collectively as a Congress, clearly and without reservation, we will send the message that these views are acceptable, and they will continue to fester,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The resolution quoted Mr. King’s most recent controversial comments, made last week to The New York Times: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization how did that language become offensive?”
The resolution then defined white supremacists and white nationalists, declared those ideologies anathema, and connected them to the 2015 massacre at a predominantly black South Carolina church and another shooting spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue last year.
“I agree with every word you put in this,” Mr. King said, though he said his comments to the newspaper last week were taken out of context. There is no tape of the interview to settle the matter, he said.
Some Democrats questioned whether Mr. King understood why he was being denounced, saying the newspaper interview was not the first time they have been offended.
“We all know that the record of these kinds of comments is long,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat and immigrant from India.
It’s not clear whether the resolution is the end of Mr. King’s troubles.
Two Democrats on Monday introduced resolutions of censure which they could demand receive floor votes later this week.
But Democratic leaders said they believed Tuesday’s rebuke was the best possible bipartisan statement.
The sole vote against the resolution was from a Democrat.
Some Republicans and Democrats have urged Mr. King to quit.
“I think he should find another line of work,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the GOP stripping Mr. King of his committee posts should be a major signal.
“I wanted to make a statement,” he said.