GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy had a "serious conversation" with Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Monday evening regarding his (latest) controversial comment. Last week, in an interview with The New York Times, King asked the editors when the terms "white supremacist" and "white nationalist" suddenly "became offensive."
Republican lawmakers immediately distanced themselves from King and his remarks. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) wrote an op-ed condemning the rhetoric, while former Gov. Jeb Bush said enough was enough - the party should support whoever wants to primary King and get him out of Congress.
It’s not enough to condemn @SteveKingIA's unconscionable, racist remarks. Republican leaders must actively support a worthy primary opponent to defeat King, because he won't have the decency to resign. https://t.co/MRAMnuJaym— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) January 11, 2019
Following King's meeting with McCarthy, it's clear they are not going to go that far in terms of a punishment. The leader told the press that at the very least, however, the House Republican Steering Committee agreed to bar King from all House committees in the 116th Congress.
“Steve’s remarks are beneath the dignity of the Party of Lincoln and the United States of America," McCarthy said in a statement after the meeting. "His comments call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity. House Republicans are clear: We are all in this together, as fellow citizens equal before God and the law. As Congressman King’s fellow citizens, let us hope and pray earnestly that this action will lead to greater reflection and ultimately change on his part.”
In a statement of his own, Rep. King said, "Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth."
He insists his words were taken out of context.