JEFFERSON, Iowa -- On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had a meeting with Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) and removed King from all committees after comments he made last week to The New York Times regarding “white supremacist” and “white nationalist.”
“I’ve called him a racist before. I even wrote a column saying the congressman could use the ‘n-word’ every day for a year and still get re-elected in this district. So I absolutely believe he is a racist,” said Douglas Burns, co-owner of Carroll Daily Times Herald and Jefferson Herald.
Also a long-time columnist, Burns has been covering King since he first ran for office in 2002.
“It’s almost like his Republican colleagues are just finally getting the translation and realizing what those who have covered him the last 15-20 years have known all along,” Burns said.
King’s comments to The New York Times are similar to what the congressman told Channel 13’s Political Director Dave Price back in October.
“What is a white nationalist?” Price asked during his political Insiders show. “Well I’m not sure of that. First of all, I think you have to be white, but then we’ve got Rachel Dolezal that didn’t have to be black to be black. It is a derogatory term today. I wouldn’t have thought so a year or two or three ago,” King replied.
Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer says King’s rhetoric is hurting Iowa’s efforts to welcome immigrants.
“We want a border safe and secure, but at the same time we need additional workforce. I think that’s an opportunity that we’d like to see the federal government put us in a position that we can pursue,” Upmeyer said. “Does your congressman make this harder?” Price asked. “Perhaps,” Upmeyer responded.
Both leaders of the GOP and U.S. House Democrats are calling for action against King, including Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa).
“The fact is, again, he’s a disservice to the American people and to the state of Iowa with the rhetoric and the hate he has continued to display and it is not who we are,” Finkenauer said. “I support any censure, whether it’s taking him off committees, whatever anyone deems is necessary and his party leadership deems is necessary, we should do it.”
Right now, King is on both the agriculture and judiciary committees. On Tuesday, three members of the U.S. House are introducing resolutions to censure King. This includes Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D, Ill.) who says there is no home for this behavior, especially the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
This is a move that has taken too long, Burns says.
“I’ve wondered over the last decade, when it was going to be a bridge too far. I thought on multiple occasions he went a bridge too far, and in this case, I’m surprised it has taken this long,” Burns said.
Congress is expected to vote on a motion to censure King on Tuesday. Just after 4 p.m., King left a nearly hour-long meeting with House GOP leader McCarthy regarding his controversial comments. He did not answer a single question from reporters.