WASHINGTON — Jan 11, 2019, 5:23 PM ET

GOP senator: Rep. King's white supremacy remarks hurt nation


Interested in Republican Party?

Add Republican Party as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Republican Party news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

Iowa Republican congressman Steve King says he's not a racist, but he faced intensifying criticism Friday over his remarks about white supremacy, including from a black GOP senator who said such comments are a blight on the nation and the party.

For the second time in two days, King insisted that he is an advocate for "Western civilization," not white supremacy or white nationalism. But he didn't deny remarks published a day earlier in The New York Times in which he was quoted saying: "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?"

Within hours Thursday, the House's top three Republicans condemned his remarks, and on Friday, GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina published his disapproval in an op-ed column.

King, who has denied being racist, appeared on the House floor after most lawmakers had left town.

"One phrase in that long article has created an unnecessary controversy. That was my mistake," King told his colleagues. King said terms describing bigotry, such as racism, are unfairly applied to "otherwise innocent" people.

King, in his ninth House term, spoke as key members of his party publicly took issue with his remarks and as a Republican from back home lined up to challenge him in a GOP primary.

Scott, who is black, cast King's remarks and those like them as a blemish on the country and the Republican Party, which has long had a frosty relationship with black voters.

"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," Scott wrote.

King's views, Scott added, are separate from the conservative movement and "should be ridiculed at every turn possible."

"Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said," Scott wrote.

In fact, House Republican leaders swiftly condemned King's remarks as racist. And on Wednesday, King drew a 2020 primary challenger: Randy Feenstra, a GOP state senator.

Some Democrats have called for the House to condemn King's remarks or somehow punish him. Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged Friday there was "interest" in taking action — but no decision to do so, or how.

"We'll see what we do about Steve King," she told reporters. "Nothing is shocking anymore, right?"

King's position in the GOP had been imperiled even before this week.

In 2017, he tweeted: "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." Then he doubled down on CNN, telling the network, "I'd like to see an America that's just so homogeneous that we look a lot the same."

Shortly before the 2018 midterm elections, in which King was running, Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, then the head of the GOP campaign committee, issued an extraordinary public denunciation of him.

King on Friday suggested he's been misunderstood. He said the foundation of the Times interview was partly a Sept. 12 tweet in which he wrote: "'Nazi' is injected into Leftist talking points because the worn out & exhausted "racist" is over used & applied to everyone who lacks melanin & who fail to virtue signal at the requisite frequency & decibels. But...Nazis were socialists & Leftists are socialists."

On Friday, King said on the House floor that the interview "also was discussion of other terms that have been used, almost always unjustly labeling otherwise innocent people. The word racist, the word Nazi, the word fascist, the phrase white nationalists, the phrase white supremacists."

King said he was only wondering aloud: "How did that offensive language get injected into our political dialogue? Who does that, how does it get done, how do they get by with laying labels like this on people?"


Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.


Follow Kellman on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman

News - GOP senator: Rep. King's white supremacy remarks hurt nation

RRelated Posts


  • CaptnBlynd

    "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?"
    Why is it wrong to support white culture but fine for other races? I believe we should suppress such groups. All of them equally. If it has a race in the title, it should be considered racist. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Labor Council For Latin American Advancement, the list goes on.
    Unless all are treated equally, there is no equality.

  • Samuel Ryan

    Pelosi should call for a vote of censure in the house. Let's cut out the cheap taak and see how many GOP house member will sign on the dotted line and how many will be to afraid of their racist base to vote to censure him. He is an embarassment to our state .

  • MdawgMike

    When the GOP needs to invoke Lincoln for a present day party that has no values from him, they have nothing to offer mankind.

  • reality25

    Washington Post, 10/25/18-

    "Rep. Steve King met with members of a far-right Austrian party with historical Nazi ties during a European trip financed by a Holocaust memorial group.

    In an interview with a website associated with the party, King (R-Iowa) declared that “Western civilization is on the decline,” spoke of the replacement of white Europeans by immigrants and criticized Hungarian American financier George Soros, who has backed liberal groups around the world.

    King spoke to the Unzensuriert site Aug. 24 in Vienna, a day after concluding a five-day journey to Jewish and Holocaust historical sites in Poland, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The trip, including airfare to and from Europe, was financed by From the Depths, an international nonprofit group that seeks to educate lawmakers about the Holocaust.
    Oh well, he travelled on Holocaust Memorial money and obviously didn't learn anything.

  • Educated

    ...Lol, and people wonder why people call the Republican party racist. True, not every Republican is racist, but most racists are Republican.

  • snake

    King is expressing the mainstream view of Republican voters and the party without using dog whistle terminology. Sine Trump subtlety is no longer necessary for party members.

  • arlecchino

    LOL because the GOP needs hurting, I am surprise the super corrupted GOP hasn't been dissolved yet.

  • SearingTruth

    Donald Trump transformed the once proud and noble Party of Lincoln into the White Nationalist Party of Trump, almost overnight fellow citizens.

    So that the best anyone remaining in the Republican Party can say now is that they're really not racists or bigots or white supremacists or white nationalists, they just "coincidentally" share their goals.

    In which case the question is moot.

    "Five coincidences make a plan."

  • reality25

    Wonder if Sen. Scott considers Trump a "blemish on the country and the Republican Party"?

  • Red Hawk

    King is a prime example that most, but not all Republicans have abandoned the GOP legacy of Civil Rights and they are indeed racists

  • Dee breeks

    HE, represents Right wing Republican MALES!...fact!...they have been HORRENDOUS, Obstinate, Barbaric, Savages for years!

  • david bogart

    King's racist comments don't hurt the GOP they simply define their party.

  • Forward forward

    I could never figure out how an otherwise decent state like Iowa could send a troglodyte like Steve King to Congress.

  • mik8888

    To King I would say, look around you...'Western Civilization' is diverse for a reason; and it isn't because you're white...that's why White Nationalist is offensive now...

  • Toshiro Histugaya

    Western civilization is what we are; white supremacy is an offshoot of a WWII ideology that had its teeth kicked in by a coalition of nations determined to stop it; white nationalism is a pathetic attempt to revive and disguise part two of my comment.
    Not hard to see the differences.

  • disqus_VTtXsRxSgB

    Mr King

    Let me explain since you’re clueless

    Western civilization and white supremacy can’t be grouped together because there is nothing civilized about white supremacy.

    Got it ?

    I like Western civilization, but I utterly despise white supremacy.

    And there were plenty of non European contributions to Western civilization too in case you didn’t know.


    Steve King might not think he's a racist, but the racist seem to think he's a racist...

  • WhoCheckedRussia'sVoterID

    9th term...wow. So his constituents must understand how racist they come across right? Has anyone, and by anyone, I mean a gaggle of press, invaded that district and started pointing cameras and asking why?


    if trump is a prime example of the superior race, God has really played us...

  • mollydtt

    It’s just the normal GOP. Why is anyone surprised.

  • TruthMakesPeace

    It is not "supremacist" to want equal rights to survive and thrive, that other races have

  • Babooph

    How can white guys be superior, if a third of the old ones vote as Trumps solid base?

  • david bogart

    No, King's comments define the Trump GOP.

  • The Last of the Left

    Racists are also war hawks.

  • Wolfy King

    Amazing that some of the Mayflower passengers were not WASPs, but had Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and some mixed race types. Our country was founded by immigrants from all nations and races, something the GOP has forgotten. GOP loves immigrants so long as they are white and vote GOP like Cubans and Russians, who btw, control a lot of crime here.

  • Pro-Marx

    Part of the package of being a racist is that you don't realize you are one.

  • MDK2020

    Sorry, that's your "base"GOP

  • Littlethugtrump

    1) There IS NO MORE GOP
    2) The Trump Party has been ruined by Trump and the former republicans unwillingness to honor their country over their chosen moron dictator
    3) King is a only a symptom of the crisis facing them
    4)There is no return from their self over country behavior

  • working_class_hero

    This is a sign of positive change. Rather than seeking to punish people,or using disagreement for political advantage, we can engage in discussion and debate and seek to reach understanding. Support for the ideals of Western Civilization is very different than support for White Supremacy. We are creating a better culture where people can grow and change and accept new ideas. Patience is not passivity and tolerance is not weakness.

  • RG

    People like King just can't help it.
    "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" While we are at it, when did the KKK or the Nazis become offensive? Sheesh.

  • The Last of the Left

    MLK was a hero. His nonviolent activism was the scariest thing to happen to America since the Civil War itself....and they tried about every dirty trick in the book trying to stop him. Odds are, they killed him.

    MLK will be remembered long after this Senator is forgotten.

  • Bob Marshall

    Western civilization is fine. Putting supremest or nationalist behind any racial modifier should be considered ignorant and offensive.

  • MichaelAndrewsUSA

    His twisted, hateful and racist views are shared by tens and tens of millions of "Americans".

    This is why he is still in Congress.

  • Quiet participant

    I wonder what the GOP will look like 20 years from now, when these old guys are dead and gone. The same? It'll be interesting. (And yes, I think it will survive this current stupidity.)

  • Zqueen

    What took the GOP so long to speak up on this guy?

  • s DAN

    Another outstanding GOP Senator..……….People who can't see racism are looking through blinded eyes...……….

  • Moderate Party

    Big deal, just about every Republican I have known my entire life is a racist to some extent. As long as there are leaders like this low life and Trump, it will never change. I hope I am wrong.

  • neophyte

    I'd like to remind the GOP of a bit of history that was caused by a racist that no one in his party (nazi) stood up to until it was too late.

    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    -Martin Niemöller, Lutheran pastor Germany

    Martin Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945.