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GOP campaign committee chair says NRCC likely won't get involved in Steve King primary

GOP campaign committee chair says NRCC likely won't get involved in Steve King primary
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee on Thursday said he disagrees with recent controversial statements by Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingDemocrats lead in 3 of 4 Iowa House races: poll Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it MORE (R-Iowa), but it's too soon to say whether the party's campaign arm will support his reelection. 

However, Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments 3 congressmen on Air Force One with Trump took commercial flight after president's diagnosis House Democrats' campaign arm reserves .6M in ads in competitive districts MORE (R-Minn.) said the committee likely won't get involved during a primary that may become contentious.

Primary challengers emerged after King questioned how terms like "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" became offensive during an interview with The New York Times.

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"It's too early to think about campaigns, I mean that's two years away," Emmer told The Hill. "I know he had a primary opponent announced yesterday, I think, but we typically don't play in primaries."

"I disagree with the statements as they've been characterized, as I understand them, and it's not helpful," he later told reporters.

King, who narrowly won his race in November, said he isn't concerned with being primaried next cycle.

"The more the merrier - if there's going to be one there might as well be many. I'm happy enough with that," he told reporters. "And so actually when I heard that announcement today I smiled and I actually laughed a little bit."

The Iowa Republican said his comments were taken out of context and he does not identify as a white supremacist.

"I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define. Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives," he said in a statement.

In addition to Emmer, a slew of top Republicans slammed King's remarks in the Times.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy urges networks not to call presidential race until 'every polling center has closed' House Republicans slated to hold leadership election on Nov. 17 Rocky Mountain National Park closed due to expanding Colorado wildfire MORE (R-Calif.) said King's language was "reckless. wrong and has no place in society."

"These comments are abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse," House GOP Conference Chair Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyHouse Republicans slated to hold leadership election on Nov. 17 McCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Steve King defends past comments on white supremacy, blasts NYT and GOP leaders in fiery floor speech MORE (R-Wyo.) tweeted.

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse Republicans slated to hold leadership election on Nov. 17 McCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE (R-La.) told reporters he thinks "it's offensive to try to legitimize those terms," adding it's important King "rejected that kind of evil, because that's what it is, evil ideology."