Kevin McCarthy: ‘Action Will Be Taken’ Against Steve King

By Melanie Arter | January 14, 2019 | 11:21am EST
House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) (Screenshot)

( - House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised Sunday that “action will be taken” against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for a New York Times interview in which he said he didn’t know when the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacists” became offensive.

“I want to ask you about Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King. You called some of his language reckless when he, in an interview with the New York Times, said the term, white nationalists and white supremacists, he didn't know when they became offensive. Some Republicans have come out very strongly here,” said host Margaret Brennan.

“As have I,” McCarthy said.

“Well, Jeb Bush said it's not enough to condemn him, that party leaders actually have to do something. Either support a primary opponent to challenge him, others have said he should be at least censured. Should there be action against Congressman King?” Brennan asked.

“First, and foremost, I came out at the very moment--that language has no place in America. That is not the America I know, and it's most definitely not the party of Lincoln,” McCarthy replied.

McCarthy said he has a scheduled meeting with King on Monday.


“And I will tell you this: I've watched on the other side that they do not take action when their member says something like this,” he said.

“Action will be taken. I'm having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican Party, because as a leader, there is a number of things you'll see that is taking place, but I will not stand back as a leader of this party, believing in this nation that all are created equal that that stands or continues to stand and have any role with us,” McCarthy added.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) called on his Republican colleagues to speak out against King’s remarks, saying, “Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said. Immigration is the perfect example, in which somehow our affection for the rule of law has become conflated with a perceived racism against brown and black people.”

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “What Steve King said was stupid. It was stupid. It was hurtful. It was wrong. And he needs to stop.

“I think all of us ought to be united, regardless of party, in saying, white supremacism, white nationalism, is hatred. It is bigotry. It is evil. It is wrong, and I think we need that clarity, and I'm certainly going to urge everyone to provide that clarity,” Cruz said.

Meanwhile, in an op-ed Monday for Fox News, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called for King to be removed from his position on the House Judiciary Committee. Chaffetz wrote:


“Such acknowledgments are important and necessary. But words are not enough. We have had tweets, apologies and talk. Enough words. Now we need action. It is time to do what is right and remove King from his position on the House Judiciary Committee. We cannot afford to be silent.

If this were a one-time gaffe or misunderstanding, such dramatic action would not be necessary. Unfortunately, this is not the first time King has overstepped and offended.

In July 2013, King said this about DREAMers – the illegal immigrants who were brought to America as children: They “aren’t all valedictorians; they weren’t all brought in by their parents; for everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that they weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

There are too many such statements for any one of them to qualify as a simple gaffe.

A clear message can be sent by the Republican conference when they vote to confirm the Steering Committee’s recommendations designating which members serve on the various committees. The House Judiciary Committee, with jurisdiction over immigration, is not the place for King.”



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