Dems Want To Censure King, McConnell Says GOPer’s Comments Were ‘Unwelcome’

U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
January 14, 2019 5:12 p.m.

Three House Democrats on Monday, including Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), proposed responses to Rep. Steve King (R-IA) seemingly minimizing the offensiveness of the terms “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” in an interview last week.

Republicans, meanwhile, continued to denounce King’s comments on Monday, but had yet to propose any consequences for them. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), for example, told the Washington Post: “Rep. King’s statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position. If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.”

Two House Democrats, Reps. Bobby Rush (IL) and Tim Ryan (OH), proposed formally censuring King.

Rush, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, included a lengthy list of King’s actions in his proposed text and asserted that the congressman “dishonors not only immigrants but every American with his racist and xenophobic rhetoric.”

Ryan listed only King’s recent comment to the New York Times, the source of unusual denunciations by Republicans in Congress. 

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King wondered to the Times in a piece published Thursday.

Clyburn, on the other hand, said he was hesitant to censure King.

“I don’t think we in the House should be censuring somebody for what he said to a reporter,” he said Monday, as quoted by Politico. “If it was something he said on the House floor, yeah maybe.”

Instead, a unnamed Democratic aide told Politico, Clyburn’s resolution is expected to condemn white supremacy broadly.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Sunday promised consequences for King, saying that he would be meeting with the congressman on Monday and that “action will be taken.”

Spokespeople for McCarthy’s office did not respond to TPM’s request for comment Monday.

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