- Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa was removed from all committee assignments as punishment for his New York Times interview in which he was quoted as questioning how terms like “white supremacist” became offensive.
- King has been repeatedly tried to appeal to House leadership and be reinstated.
- King is also experiencing a wave of primary challengers in his home district.
WASHINGTON – Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in February asking to change the congressional record to reflect his side of the story about his interview with The New York Times in which he was quoted as questioning how terms like “white supremacist” became offensive.
King has appealed to congressional leadership multiple times. The interview in January eventually led to King being stripped of all committee assignments, leaving him without any legislative ability.
In the letter to Pelosi, King disputed the way The Times presented the quote and asked the speaker to change the official House transcript to match what he claims is the correct interpretation.
“I write today to emphatically correct the quote once again to align with what I actually stated to The New York Times reporter and on the floor of the House of Representatives,” King wrote. “As I stated on the House floor, what I actually said was ‘”White nationalist, white supremacist – (there is a dash here as a pause) Western civilisation, how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and civilisation” – that is the end of the quote – just to watch “Western civilisation” become a derogatory term in political discourse today?'”
King said he was questioning why only the term “Western civilisation” was offensive, not “white supremacist” and “white nationalist.”
King also described himself as “the descendant of abolitionists and Union soldiers who fought and died to purge this land of the crime of human slavery” and said that regarding the terms “white supremacist” and “white nationalist,” he “always will reject them completely.”
“I stipulate that the record reflect precisely my words, which are those of a man who loves his country and all its people and will continue to work for the betterment of our society for all Americans, who are all endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and are equal under the law,” he concluded.
In the weeks since Republican leadership removed King from his committee posts – including a coveted spot on the House Judiciary Committee – the embattled congressman has inspired a handful of primary challengers in his home district.
King has also repeatedly attempted to clear his name. Earlier in February, King sent a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy calling on leadership to publicly apologise to him and reinstate his committee posts.
The letter was signed by more than 100 conservative and Christian leaders, including Frank Gaffney Jr., who the Southern Poverty Law Center said has consistently spread anti-Muslin conspiracy theories.
King is one of three House Republicans who have been stripped of committee assignments and unable to conduct legislative work. The other two, Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York, were charged with financial crimes.
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