Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse has the power to subpoena its members — but does it have the will? Man who threatened to kill Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi pleads guilty to federal charges The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems look to repackage BBB into salvageable bill MORE (D-Calif.) suggested Friday that the House will take some punitive action against Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingJuan Williams: McCarthy's inaction is a disgrace Omar allies dig in on calls for Boebert punishment Pressure grows to remove Boebert from committees MORE (R-Iowa), who’s under fire from both parties for recent comments defending the “white supremacist” label.
“We’ll see what we do about Steve King, but nonetheless, nothing is shocking anymore, right? The new normal around here is to praise white supremacists and nationalism as something that shouldn’t be shunned,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.
Pressed about what specific action the House might take, Pelosi declined to get into details.
“I’m not prepared to make any announcement about that right now,” she said. “But needless to say, there’s interest in doing something.”
King has come under fire for incendiary remarks in the past, but is facing the strongest blowback yet over comments he made Thursday in an interview with The New York Times, when he questioned why certain terms like "white supremacist" have been deemed racist.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” he asked in the Times interview.
King attempted to defuse the controversy on Friday, saying during a speech on the House floor that he regrets “the heartburn” his remarks have caused in Congress and Iowa.
"One phrase in that long article has created an unnecessary controversy. That was my mistake," King said. "I've never been anti-immigrant. I have been anti-illegal immigrant, and I remain that way.”
First elected to Congress in 2002, King has long been known for his hard-line positions on immigration enforcement and his controversial characterizations of those living in the country illegally, which some have panned as racist.
His latest comments about white nationalism prompted an outcry from a long list of lawmakers, including a number of Republican leaders.
“When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole,” Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Supreme Court allows lawsuits against Texas abortion ban Rapper French Montana talks opioid epidemic, immigration on Capitol Hill MORE (R-S.C.), who is African-American, wrote Friday in a Washington Post op-ed.
Pelosi on Friday noted controversial comments from King in the past, but also alluded to some of the incendiary remarks that have emanated from the White House in recent years, which have included racially charged comments from the president himself.
“He’s said terrible things,” Pelosi said of King. “Terrible things have been said by other people in this administration, as well.”