Ex-Bush ethics chief calls for Steve King expulsion after he posted meme of potential civil war

Richard Painter, a frequent critic or President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE's and former chief ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush administration, on Monday called for Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingMcCarthy laments distractions from far-right members War of words escalates in House House votes to censure Gosar and boot him from committees MORE (R-Iowa) to be expelled from the House after he shared a meme that imagines a modern day civil war. 

"This is treason," Painter, who switched parties and ran in a Democratic primary for a Minnesota Senate seat last year, tweeted. "Steve King should be expelled from the House immediately." 

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The forceful condemnation from Painter, a former Republican who now says his positions fall in line with the Democratic Party, came just days after King posted a meme featuring an image of what a civil war between Democratic and Republican states may look like. 

“Wonder who would win,” King said in a Facebook post on Saturday, followed by a smirking emoji. The post included an image of Democratic-leaning states fighting with GOP-leaning ones. 

"Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn't know which bathroom to use," the meme reads, which appears to be a reference to Democrats' support of gender-neutral bathrooms. 

It is unclear who produced the original image. King deleted the image from his Facebook account on Monday. 

King's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Painter launched a challenge against Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithBiden touts infrastructure bill in Minnesota swing district Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Senators seek to permanently expand telehealth eligibility MORE (D-Minn.) last year, but ultimately lost the primary in August. 

King has faced frequent scrutiny for his rhetoric regarding issues such as immigration. The Iowa lawmaker was stripped of his House committee assignments earlier this year after asking The New York Times when terms such as white nationalist and white supremacist became "offensive."