Republicans took extraordinary steps Monday to punish Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) over controversial comments he made about white supremacy.
King was stripped of his committee assignments in Congress by Republicans after Democrats in the House of Representatives indicated they would vote to censure him for the comments.
A member of the GOP Steering Committee confirmed the move to NBC News.
King has been at the center of a public furor over the comments he made linking white supremacy, white nationalism, and Western Civilization.
"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" Mr. King said in an interview with the New York Times.
"Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?" he added.
After the comments drew the public's ire, King made it clear that he does not consider himself a white supremacist or a white nationalist, and does not approve of the ideology.
"I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I reject those labels and the evil ideology they define," he explained. "Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systemic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives."
"America's values are expressed in our founding documents," he added, "they are attainable by everyone, and we take pride that people of all races, religions and creeds from around the globe aspire to achieve them. I am dedicated to keeping America this way."
In a later statement after he was removed from his committee assignments, King explained that his comments had been mischaracterized to apply to white nationalism and white supremacy, when he had only meant his statement of approval to apply to Western Civilization.
"Clearly, I was only referencing Western Civilization classes," King said. "No one ever sat in a class listening to the merits of white nationalism and white supremacy."
Mitt Romney jumped on the bandwagon Monday when he called for Rep. King's resignation. The newly elected Senator made the statement to CNN's Manu Raju.
"I think he ought to step aside and I think Congress ought to make it very clear he has no place there," said Romney.