(CNSNews.com) – As expected, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stripped Rep. Steve King, one of the most conservative Members of Congress, from his committee assignments on Monday for "defending racism," as one liberal media outlet described it.
In response, the Iowa Republican said, “Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth.”
“Steve’s remarks are beneath the dignity of the Party of Lincoln and the United States of America,” McCarthy said in a statement following his closed-door meeting with King:
“His comments call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity. House Republicans are clear: We are all in this together, as fellow citizens equal before God and the law. As Congressman King’s fellow citizens, let us hope and pray earnestly that this action will lead to greater reflection and ultimately change on his part,” McCarthy concluded.
King said his remarks, as quoted in a Jan. 10 New York Times story, have been “completely mischaracterized.” In a tweeted explanation, King offered the “context” that “accurately reflects my statement.”
King said he was talking about “Western civilization,” not white nationalism or white supremacy, when he questioned, “How did that language become offensive?”
Here’s the quotation used by the New York Times: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Mr. King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
King, in a statement, said his 56-minute interview with the Times included a discussion on “the changing use of language in political discourse.”
We discussed the worn out label “racist” and my observation that other slanderous labels have been increasingly assigned to Conservatives by the Left, who injected into our current political dialog such terms as Nazi, Fascist, ‘White Nationalist, White Supremacist,--Western Civilization, how did THAT language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?'...just to watch Western Civilization become a derogatory term in political discourse today.
Clearly, I was only referencing Western Civilization classes. No one ever sat in a class listening to the merits of white nationalism and white supremacy.
When I used the word ‘THAT’ it was in reference ONLY to Western Civilization and NOT to any previously stated evil ideology ALL of which I have denounced. My record as a vocal advocate for Western Civilization is nearly as full as my record in defense of Freedom of Speech.
The day after The New York Times published its unflattering report on Rep. King (titled: "Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics"), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, 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."
Scott said he was “unsure who is offended by the term 'Western civilization' on its own, but anyone who needs 'white nationalist' or 'white supremacist' defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge.”
Following Sen. Scott’s lead, other Republicans in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), denounced King’s “racism,” and liberal media outlets piled on.
“There is no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind,” McConnell said on Monday. “I have no tolerance for such positions and those who espouse these views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. Rep. King's statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position."
McConnell said if King doesn’t understand why his remarks were offensive, he should step aside.
It should be noted that the Jan. 10 New York Times report used Rep. King as a way to slam Republicans in general and President Trump in particular. The following paragraph is just one example:
With the federal government in a third week of paralysis over a border wall, Mr. Trump’s positions are a reminder of how Mr. King’s ideology and his language maligning undocumented residents helped shape the Republican message in 2016 and 2018 and define Mr. Trump’s agenda and prospects for re-election. Mr. King may have been ostracized by some Republicans over his racist remarks and extremist ties, but as much of the nation debates immigration, his views now carry substantial influence on the right.
Various Democrats on Monday introduced resolutions of censure against Rep. King for his comments to The New York Times.
King easily won re-election last November, a time when Democrats swamped the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.