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GOP Rep. Steve King may face punishment for 'white supremacist' comment, Pelosi says


King blamed the New York Times for taking his words out of context

Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there is "interest" within the House of Representatives in taking punitive action against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for his comments about white supremacy and white nationalism, according to The Hill.

King has been criticized for asking: "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?"

"We'll see what we do about Steve King, but nonetheless, nothing is shocking anymore, right?" Pelosi said Friday. "The new normal around here is to praise white supremacists and nationalism as something that shouldn't be shunned.

"I'm not prepared to make any announcement about that right now," Pelosi also said. "But needless to say, there's interest in doing something."

Tarnishing the reputation of the GOP?

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only black Republican senator, said comments like King's are the cause of the party's bad reputation with minorities.

"Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism—it is because of our silence when things like this are said," Scott wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post. "Immigration is a perfect example, in which somehow our affection for the rule of law has become conflated with a perceived racism against black and brown people."

Blaming the NYT

King on Friday blamed the controversy on The New York Times taking his words out of context.

"I made a freshman mistake when I took a call from a reporter from the New York Times," King said. "One phrase in that long article has created an unnecessary controversy."

King said he wasn't complaining that he couldn't freely use terms like white supremacist, but rather that he was asking how terms like that got into political discussions.

"I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define," King said. "Further, I condemn anyone who supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives."

Not his first questionable comment

King faced backlash in 2017 for saying "we can't restore our civilization with someone else's babies" referencing his opposition to immigration.

In 2016, King questioned the significance of the contributions of nonwhite people to civilization.

"I'd ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup contribute more to civilization?" King asked during a panel discussion.

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