House

House passes resolution condemning white nationalism

The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Tuesday condemning white nationalism and white supremacy in the wake of public remarks by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) questioning why the terms are considered offensive.

The resolution, approved in a 424-1 vote, doesn’t directly rebuke King.

Instead, the text states that the House “once again rejects White nationalism and White supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”

{mosads}Some Democrats want to go much further and argued the measure offered by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was too soft. Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) have both introduced resolutions to censure King for his remarks.

Rush voted against Clyburn’s resolution, which was tailored to draw bipartisan support. In a statement, Rush said that “while I strongly condemn white supremacy and white nationalism, my position remains unchanged. Anything short of censure is shallow.”

Clyburn told reporters after the vote that he opted for a resolution that didn’t go as far to accommodate some lawmakers who weren’t comfortable with censuring King.

“It doesn’t go far enough for me,” Clyburn acknowledged, adding that he would support censuring King.
 
“I try when I can not to make people uncomfortable. When I can, I try to accommodate people’s feelings and positions. And we have a few people who are uncomfortable with censure, but very comfortable with disapproval,” Clyburn said.

King voted in favor of the resolution, saying, “I agree with the language in it.”

A growing number of Republicans are calling for King to resign, including Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), Rep. Chris Stewart (Utah) and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.).

Cheney said at a press conference earlier Tuesday that “I think he should find another line of work,” echoing a statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a day earlier.

The third-ranking House Republican went further than House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who said it’s up to King’s constituents to keep him in the House.

King, who has a long history of courting controversy on race, has maintained that his comments to The New York Times were taken out of context.

“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?” King said in the interview published last week.

The vote came a day after House GOP leaders announced they would not assign King to any committees for the new Congress. King had served on the Judiciary, Agriculture and Small Business committees. He had even served as a chairman of a Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice and could have served as its ranking member under the Democratic majority.

King has denied that he supports white nationalism or supremacy.

“Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth,” he said in a statement Monday.

GOP leaders previously haven’t punished King for making controversial remarks.

King in 2013 said in an interview with Newsmax that for every undocumented immigrant who becomes a valedictorian, “there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” Then-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called King’s comments “deeply offensive and wrong.”

In 2017, King created another firestorm when he said that “we can’t rebuild our civilization with somebody else’s babies” while tweeting in support of an anti-Muslim nationalist Dutch politician.

Then-Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told Fox News at the time that “I disagree with that statement.”

But no action was taken against King, who claimed to The Hill following pushback from a handful of fellow GOP lawmakers that “my colleagues have generally been coming by and patting me on the back.”

King also drew condemnation last year from the then-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), after supporting a white nationalist candidate for Toronto mayor and telling an Austrian publication, “What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have?”

President Trump has not criticized King’s more recent remarks, and told reporters on Monday that he hadn’t been closely following the issue.

-Updated 4:44 p.m.

Tags Bobby Rush Boehner Chris Stewart Donald Trump John Boehner Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney Paul Ryan Steve King Steve Stivers Tim Ryan

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