House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made it clear that he will not tolerate racially charged comments from House Republicans.
This week, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) left jaws dropped the New York Times published a quote from King, 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?”
Many were outraged by King’s comments questioning the offensiveness of white supremacy. Many Republicans condemned his words, but the party has continued to receive criticism for not taking further action. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) published an op-ed in the Washington Post detailing his frustration with Republicans for failing to back up their condemnations with action.
“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, adding, “Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said.”
It looks as though Scott’s words were heard by Republican leadership in the House because both McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) made it clear that King’s words will not go without a response.
McCarthy explained his plan to meet with King during an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 13, 2019
“That language has no place in America. That is not the America I know and it’s most definitely not the party of Lincoln. I have a scheduled meeting with him on Monday. And I will tell you this: I’ve watched on the other side that they do not take action when their members say something like this. Action will be taken. I’m having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican party.”
McCarthy explained that there are a number of steps he can take to pressure King for his statements.
“I will not stand back as a leader of this party, believing in this nation, that all are created equal, that [King’s comments] stand or have any role with us,” McCarthy added.
McCarthy wasn’t alone in his disgust for King’s statements. He also has the support of Rep. Scalise who condemned the comments during an interview with ABC News. Scalise also took a shot at Democrats for failing to condemn the controversial comments made by their side.
"I would imagine we're going to continue talking about this," Rep. Steve Scalise says when asked if Republicans will call for action against Rep. Steve King.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 13, 2019
“There’s no place for hate, for bigotry or anybody who supports that ideology. It’s an evil ideology. We all ought to stand up against it, but it’s easy when the Democrats condemn a Republican. I don’t see Democrats condemning Democrats who are doing this kind of thing and using this kind of language.”
While it isn’t clear exactly what punishment King will face, it is clear that Republicans do not want to let this language slide.