White supremacist Steve King has no place in Congress
Last week, the New York Times did a profile of Iowa Rep. Steve King.1 It proved once again what we already knew: King is an open and unapologetic racist and white supremacist who has no place in Congress.
King's comments to the Times have drawn harsh criticism, even from Republicans.2 But yesterday, Democratic leaders called a vote that gave King a pass instead of holding him accountable. It was a failure of leadership and we have to demand better.
Tell House Speaker Pelosi and every member of the House of Representatives: Steve King's racism should be met with censure and expulsion, not disapproval.
Monday, faced with censure resolutions from Reps. Bobby Rush and Tim Ryan, Republicans stripped King of his committee assignments.3 But yesterday, instead of calling a vote to put every member of the House of Representative on the record about their racist colleague, House Majority Whip James Clyburn led a vote on a resolution condemning white supremacy that mentioned King only in its preamble and did not specifically condemn him in any way. The resolution was in fact so hollow that King voted for it. His Democratic colleagues allowed him to take a vote against white supremacy while members of his own party, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, were suggesting he "find another line of work."4
It is appalling that we can't count on Democrats to lead against racism as blatant as King's. We have to put massive pressure on House leaders to call a vote to expel him from the House and on every member to take a real stand against his racism.
Tell House Speaker Pelosi and every member of the House of Representatives: Censure Steve King, then expel him.
It's important to remember that last week's comments – “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization – how did that language become offensive?" – are nothing new. Why would King's fellow House members hesitate to hold accountable a person who:5,6,7,8
- Was caught on tape calling immigrants "dirt" by a conservative magazine whose editor replied to King's criticism by saying "Our reporting wouldn't focus on your bigotry if you weren't a bigot."
- Repeatedly retweets Nazis and endorsed a far-right Canadian mayoral candidate who once promoted a book calling for the elimination of Jewish people.
- Spouted white supremacist talking points about the threat of Muslims and immigrants in interview with an anti-Semitic publication tied to an Austrian far-right political party founded by a former Nazi officer.
- Claimed white people contributed more to civilization than any other group, accused immigrants of "undermining our culture and civilization," and drew praise from KKK leader David Duke for tweeting that "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies."
- Paved the way for Trump by proposing a racist birthright citizenship bill, an electrified border fence that would shock immigrants like "livestock" and banning Spanish on federal documents.
- Said he would not change slavery or anything about American history, fought to keep slave liberator Harriet Tubman off the $20 bill and cast the only vote against a resolution recognizing that slave labor helped build the Capitol.
- Said Somali Muslims should not be allowed to work in meatpacking plants in his district, called the obscene torture at Abu Ghraib "hazing" and asked anti-Muslim questions in a congressional hearing that were too offensive to answer.
A censure vote could happen as soon as today. The House of Representatives should unanimously vote to censure King and then move forward on a vote to expel him. There is no room for half measures or collegial politeness. Every politician needs to go on the record now in support of either racial equality or white supremacy.
Sign the petition to make clear that you are paying attention and will hold the racists and cowards accountable if they fail to act.
Thank you for speaking out.
- Trip Gabriel, "Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics," The New York Times, Jan. 10, 2019.
- Mike DeBonis and John Wagner, "Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, says Steve King should ‘find another line of work’," The Washington Post, Jan. 15, 2019.
- John Bowden, "Conservative magazine posts recording of King using derogatory language against immigrants," The Hill, Nov. 10, 2018.
- Frank Dale, "The case to expel white supremacist Steve King from Congress," ThinkProgress, Nov. 14, 2018.
- Gabrielle Bruney, "Steve King, Congress's Most Shameless Racist, Has Won Reelection in Iowa," Esquire, Nov. 7, 2018.
- Jane Coaston, "Steve King is a racist, and conservatives don’t want to talk about it," Vox, June 28, 2018.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call