IOWA — Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa cast blame on House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy during a town hall event on Tuesday after being pressed by an attendee over the fact that he had lost his committee assignments at the start of the year.
“This is Kevin McCarthy’s mistake. … It’s Kevin McCarthy’s mistake, it’s not mine,” King said after an attendee brought up the fact that he had been stripped of his committee assignments.
The attendee had asked, “If you were asked to step aside from your committees, I imagine that’s because you lost respect from the other congresspeople there, so how can we feel that you are best representing us if you don’t have respect in the Congress?”
King pushed back, saying, “That is your assumption, but that wasn’t a decision made by any group of people. It was something that was leveraged in by Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader of the United States House of Representatives.”
Later, referring to the California Republican again, King added, “His ego is attached to the issue. So I have to figure out a way to overcome that, but meanwhile … there is a lot of leverage in that Congress for me.”
In January, McCarthy announced that King had been removed from committee assignments — a move that took place following bipartisan condemnation of remarks King had made in an interview appeared to lament that the term “white supremacist” is considered offensive. King said his comment had been “completely mischaracterized.”
McCarthy said at the time that the House Republican Steering Committee — which oversees committee assignments — had met and decided that King “will not be serving on committees in this Congress.”
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment over King’s latest remarks.
This isn’t the first time the Iowa Republican has pointed the finger at McCarthy over losing his committee assignments.
In an exchange with CNN earlier this month, King argued that he believes he will be reassigned to congressional committees before 2020, saying, “I’m not going to wait that long,” when asked if he hopes to be reassigned if he is reelected in 2020.
Referring to the House GOP leader, King said, “Kevin McCarthy made a huge mistake, it is an obscene injustice and it’s an affront to Iowans and everybody in this country.”
King has recently faced a new round of bipartisan backlash after questioning whether there would be any population left on Earth if not for rape and incest.