Jan 12, 2019, 1:45 AM ET

Growing number of Republicans rebuke Iowa Rep. Steve King over 'white supremacy' comments

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Sen. Tim Scott, the lone African-American in the Senate GOP ranks, is the latest Republican to rebuke Iowa Congressman Steve King, after the eight-term GOP representative, in an interview with the New York Times earlier this week, questioned why the terms "white nationalism" and "white supremacy" are considered offensive in modern America.

"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization -- how did that language become offensive?” King said in the interview with the Times. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"

Those comments, coupled with King's long history of controversial comments about race and immigration, have led several prominent Republicans to rebuke King and call for a primary challenge to him in 2020.

PHOTO: Sen. Tim Scott talks with reporters as the Senate takes a procedural vote on the spending bill, Dec. 21, 2018, in Washington, D.C.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images
Sen. Tim Scott talks with reporters as the Senate takes a procedural vote on the spending bill, Dec. 21, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Scott, from South Carolina, criticized King's comments, in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Friday entitled: "Why are Republicans accused of racism? Because we’re silent on things like this."

"I will admit I am unsure who is offended by the term 'Western civilization' on its own, but anyone who needs 'white nationalist' or 'white supremacist' defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge," Scott wrote.

Other top Republicans, from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., have also leveled harsh criticism of King.

"Everything about white supremacy and white nationalism goes against who we are as a nation," McCarthy wrote in a statement released Thursday, "Steve’s language is reckless, wrong, and has no place in our society. The Declaration of Independence states that ‘all men are created equal.’ That is a fact. It is self-evident."

Former GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush weighed in on Twitter as well, calling on party leaders to help defeat King.

Those looking for a significant primary challenge to King may find hope in Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra, who announced earlier this week that he is taking steps to run against the incumbent in the GOP primary next year.

"Today, Iowa’s 4th District doesn’t have a voice in Washington, because our current representative’s caustic nature has left us without a seat at the table,” Feenstra wrote in a statement Wednesday announcing his candidacy, "We don’t need any more sideshows or distractions, we need to start winning for Iowa’s families."

King responded to the news of Feenstra's candidacy by calling it, "misguided political opportunism, fueled by establishment puppeteers," in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

News - Growing number of Republicans rebuke Iowa Rep. Steve King over 'white supremacy' comments

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  • Zed52

    You have to go see the Fox News comment section on this story.
    Seriously, thought I was reading posts from the 1950s.

  • kritikosman

    As the well should.

  • E Just

    Good to see him being called out.

  • ROBOTIX JONES

    Anyone not rebuking him accepts what he says. That would be most Republicans.

  • mollydtt

    Pretty tepid rebuke.

  • Ageing Geek

    Ah yes, the GOP will wring its hands- and do absolutely nothing

  • josephsmith7596@outlook.com

    We have seen what hate can be like...Nazi Germany Wll. Trump is using fear to promote a similar situation.

  • AWOL WSO

    He's been in congress since 2003 and has been saying the same things. Why are they getting upset now?

  • chooch

    I'm afraid he is the face of the right wing of the republican party.

  • Citizen

    I find it funny that their is a black caucus in Congress and that's ok but anytime a group of white people want to form its racist I'm sorry but get over it people have their beliefs and should be able to say what they want its called freedom of speech if you don't like it don't listen to it or talk about it non stop if you don't give it ongoing coverage its not a huge issue but when a Republican says something incorrect its pushed non stop a Democrat makes a wrong statement its nowhere in the media because it doesn't push the medias anti Republican stance

  • mollydtt

    It’s just King being a republican. Not much to rebuke.

  • hotrod2001

    Just empty words from King's colleagues. He's been doing this kind of stuff for a while now and they've turned a blind eye. Saying something and actually doing something about him are two different things.

  • Verity Pendelton

    He should be impeached. The Constitution allows for Congress to remove him from his seat.

  • cephalo

    He clearly wasn't paying attention in school. 'White Nationalism' is not the same thing as 'Western Civilization'. They are related, it is true, but you can have one without the other.

  • (((Rocket Cat)))

    King: I'm a nationalist!
    Gop: Boooo! We don't support anything like that! Never have, never will!

    Drumpf: I'm a nationalist!
    Gop: well, obviously he didn't mean that in a bad way. You people are making things up out of spite!

  • tet1953

    The House should tell Iowa to send it a new representative.

  • Elaine Hernandez

    This fool has been talking like this for years and nothing is ever done. Look at the comments from many politicians and supporters of the GOP and this is nothing new. If they are speaking up now must be up for re-election.

  • TheZeppelingFloyds

    How did the GOP become such a sewer?

  • mollydtt

    The GOP’s “rebukes” are pretty tepid.

  • Former Earthling

    No sure why they condemn him. He's exactly who GOP appeals to.

  • Pizza!

    King: one of the K's in KKK

  • Dicazi

    There is nothing the matter with the phrase "Western Civilization".

    The other 2 phrases, frell yes, are bad things in the way they are used today.
    That white is superior.

    Arabs built the Pyramids. Inca, Aztec, Maya built pyramids, great cities and Macchu Picchu way before Europeans came.
    Inuit survived and thrived in conditions that killed British explorers like Franklin who survived Anarctica.

  • Educated

    This is another bigot that has no business being in Congress. This is why it's so important to vote.

  • kritikosman

    This fella (king) is OBSCENE!

  • Nearl56 12

    Why do they have a problem with King?

    Trump is just as racist and says the same sort of thing and they drool over him.

  • Nala

    "white supremacy" has always been offensive - racists would not recognize that tho - just proves this is just another old fossil not fit for office - white folks are a MINORITY themselves always have been and always will be

  • MDK2020

    Why the uproar? King speaks for "The Base"

  • Colinalcarz

    King keeps getting elected because his character reflects that of a significant portion of his district. Western Iowa is full of people just like King. It is not a hidden, submerged aspect of his philosophy voters weren’t aware of, they vote for him because of it.

  • Mr Wayne

    Most Conservative White Republicans are considered racist because they are racist.

  • FarmFamily

    Too little, too late.

  • Chuck

    You don't have to declare yourself a white supremacist to be one. Their nonchalance has spoken more about the GOP, than any contrived condemnation now! A few more years, and a diverse and ethnically rich country will be the majority of voters, hence, the current racist GOP and it's hateful base will be powerless, except in racist red states!!

  • JDL51

    Not much different from the Racist-In-Chief's comments defending white nationalists/nazis in Charlotte. I wonder if Liz Cheney has the balls to call for Trump to be primaried, because he doesn't have the decency to resign.

  • Starderup

    Expel

  • ogrot

    I agree with bush. The party needs to primary him. I dont know if there is a party rule where they could kick him out of the caucus but placing him in a situation where he is no position of influence in the republican caucus would help a primary opponents chances.

  • mollydtt

    Steve’s language isnt “reckless”. It’s dangerous hate speech and a death knell for the GOP. They just keep expressing their racist mantras. Including Trump.

  • Smedley D Butler

    Steve has two primary challenges in 2020. Bye Steve.

  • Chuck

    He has been making these comments for years. The GOP had treated them with nonchalance, and now feigning disapproval is a shallow and disingenuous attempt at disagreement. We all know better!!!

  • Bud Simpson

    For the past 10 years I've watched the GOP deteriorate to a party that I don't recognize. They played party politics to the detriment of our nation. A few things have happened this week that make me hopeful that they may be waking up and realizing their first allegiance is to this country and not the GOP.

  • ryanwiwb

    As long as King is still part of the Republican party, their words mean nothing.

  • Alex Ross

    Trump would call King a GREAT MAN.

  • ROBOTIX JONES

    This guy reinforces the talking points that people have made against the GOP for decades.

  • Ted Mittelstaedt

    Oh dear, one of our members was honest with the general public about what we are and who we protect and support. How horrible we must put on a show now with our 1 token minority. Maybe we can use it to deflect attention from how awful we are acting on the shutdown.

    Fools nobody. Those who stand with the President show their true colors. The GOP should have passed a budget bill over the President's veto by now but they would rather support the disgusting and deplorable than do the right thing.

  • John bailey

    one of the faces of the republican party.

  • Fatesrider
    King responded to the news of Feenstra's candidacy by calling it, "misguided political opportunism, fueled by establishment puppeteers," in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

    This is what you say when you're quoted in context and everyone hears it.