The U.S. House of Representatives voted 424 to 1 to condemn racist language used by its member, Steve King, an Iowa Republican. During a recent New York Times interview, King asked the reporter, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?”
The opposing vote wasn’t King, who voted “aye” to the resolution citing his words, and which concluded “that the House of Representatives once again rejects White nationalism and White supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”
King’s home-district newspaper, the Des Moines Register, called for his resignation following the resolution vote.
King said in the days following the interview’s publication on Jan. 10 that he intended his question about offense to relate only to “Western civilization.” He said in remarks before a vote on the resolution, “I’m putting up a ‘yes’ on the board here because what you state here is right and it’s true and it’s just.”
Critics, including some in the Republican Party, pointed to a long history of similar remarks, however. In the last year, King backed a white nationalist for the mayor of Toronto during an appearance on a Neo-Nazi podcast.
Democrat Bobby Rush voted against the resolution, as he proposes a censure of King. A censure carries no punishment beyond its condemnation. House GOP leadership has already removed King from his committee assignments.
The House resolution began by calling out King’s remarks, progressed through a history lesson on the current form of white supremacy and its antecedents in America, and concluded by noting a rise in hate crimes, including the murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2017, and the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018.