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Steve King asks for Congressional Record correction over white supremacist quote
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is asking for a correction to the Congressional Record's transcript of remarks he gave on the House floor last month in support of a resolution rebuking white nationalism, claiming that he was misquoted thanks to a punctuation error.
King's effort comes as he ramps up his pressure campaign on House GOP leaders to reinstate the committee assignments that they denied him last month due to his remarks in the New York Times appearing to question why the terms white nationalist and white supremacy had become offensive.
In the New York Times story published last month, King is quoted as saying: "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's quote as stated in the New York Times is reflected in the Congressional Record.
King claimed that the quote should instead read as the following, with a hyphen instead before he mentions "Western civilization": "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 argued that different placement for the hyphen makes all the difference.
"According to my actual words, the question 'how did that language become offensive?' clearly referred only to the term 'Western Civilization.' I was not asking how the terms white nationalist and white supremacist have become offensive," King wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released Tuesday asking for a correction to the Congressional Record.
"I stipulate that the record reflect precisely my words, which are those of a man who loves his country and all its people and will continue to work for the betterment of our society for all Americans, who are all endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and are equal under the law," King added in the letter, dated Feb. 6.
King has previously claimed that he was referring only to "Western civilization" when asking "how did that language become offensive."
He voted in favor of a resolution last month that formally condemned white nationalism and white supremacy. The resolution cites King's comments to the New York Times, but doesn't directly rebuke him.
The request to revise the Congressional Record's transcript is the latest in King's efforts to push House GOP leaders to reinstate his assignments on the House Judiciary, Agriculture and Small Business committees.
During a town hall in Iowa on Monday, King urged his supporters to pray for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to restore his committee assignments.
"Kevin McCarthy has been getting a lot of phone calls, and the more phone calls he gets and the more persistent that it is, the more he is gonna realize that it was a bad decision he made, based upon one comment misquoted in The New York Times, reported as fact," King told the audience, according to the Sioux City Journal.
King also released a letter last week from more than 200 of what he described as "pro-family leaders" asking McCarthy to restore his committee assignments, including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas); William Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African American Pastors; evangelical leader James Dobson; and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney.
"Unlike North Korea, we in the United States are 'innocent until proven guilty' and hold to the principles of Western Civilization, as Rep. King so admirably does," the letter states.
But McCarthy's decision to deny King committee assignments came after House GOP leaders faced years of controversies spurred by King making inflammatory comments about race and immigration.
Last year, King supported a white nationalist candidate for Toronto mayor and retweeted a Nazi sympathizer. Those actions culminated in then-National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) publicly condemning King days before the midterm elections last November.
King tweeted in 2017 that "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies" while expressing support for a far-right Dutch politician.
And in 2013, King said in an interview with the conservative outlet Newsmax that for every undocumented immigrant in the U.S. who becomes a valedictorian, "there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."