WASHINGTON – A Democratic lawmaker announced Monday he intends to propose a resolution to formally censure Rep. Steve King over the Iowa Republican’s comments on white nationalism that have drawn bipartisan criticism.
Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said King has “become too comfortable with proudly insulting, disrespecting, and denigrating people of color.”
“As with any animal that is rabid, Steve King should be set aside and isolated,” Rush said in a statement Monday.
If passed, the resolution would formally express disapproval of King.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in an interview with The New Times last week. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
Many of King’s colleagues, including Republicans, rebuked him over the comments.
“These comments are abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse,” Rep. Liz Cheney, the House GOP conference chair tweeted.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the only black Republican in the Senate wrote a Washington Post op-ed titled: “Why are Republicans accused of racism? Because we’re silent on things like this.”
King later released a statement that said, “I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define.”
“My resolution to censure Representative King sends a clear message to the American people — this Congress will not turn a blind eye to his repugnant and racist behavior. Anything short of censure would be shallow,” Rush said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Friday there was interest in taking action against King, but she wasn’t prepared then to announce anything.
King has made other comments that have stirred outrage. In 2013, King said that Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, were involved in drug smuggling.
“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King told Newsmax in 2013.
He was abandoned by the House Republican campaign arm going into the 2018 election over alleged ties to white nationalist groups. He narrowly won his election in his deep red district.
The introduction of the resolution comes the same day King is expected to meet with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who has vowed to take action over King’s comments.
“Action will be taken, I’m having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican Party,” McCarthy said on CBS “Face the Nation” Sunday. His office did not immediately respond to request for comment on the censure resolution.
King’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the GOP minority whip, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” he didn’t yet know if Republican leaders plan to take action against King.
“I would imagine we’re going to continue talking about this. This just popped up on Friday,” he said. “We were very quick to reject those comments. There’s no place for hate, for bigotry or anybody that supports that ideology. It’s evil ideology. We all ought to stand up against it.”
“But it’s easy when the Democrats condemn a Republican. I don’t see the Democrats condemning Democrats on their side .”
Contributing: Robin Opsahl and William Petroski in Des Moines, Iowa and Deborah Barfield Berry in Washington D.C.