Steve King's "White Supremacist" Comments
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Steve King's "White Supremacist Comments refers to a controversial quote by Representative Steve King of Iowa. In the quote, King asked, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization -- how did that language become offensive?" King claims the comments were taken out of context, but many were outraged by his comments, including members of Congress, who widely denounced the comments as racist. As a result, King was removed from committee assignments.
On January 10th, 2019, the New York Times published an article entitled "Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics." In the article, King asks:
White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization -- how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?
That day, people on Twitter, by-and-large, reacted negatively to King's comments. Twitter user @JuddLegum tweeted, "Steve King just openly embraced white supremacy I'm waiting for A SINGLE REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF THE HOUSE to speak out against this Seems like a pretty easy call So far, nothing." The tweet received more than 9,000 retweets and 30,000 likes in one week (shown below, left).
Others commented on the perceived double standard within governemnt for republicans to chastise democrats but not their own party, particularly Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Twitter user @ManInTheHoody tweeted, "aoc: my nickname was 'sandy' republicans: BURN THE WITCH!!! steve king: my nickname is 'grand wizard' republicans: cool cool." The tweet received more than 3,500 retweets and 18,000 likes in one week (shown below, center).
Some said that King should be removed from office. Twitter user @RWPUSA tweeted, "Steve King should be expelled from the House. His district can have a special election, this time with no Klansmen or persons of similar ilk on the ballot." The tweet received more than 4,000 retweets and 11,000 likes in 24 hours (shown below, right).
On January 10th, King released a statement on the article. He tweeted, "The New York Times is suggesting that I am an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy. I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology they define. The tweet received more tahn 2,300 retweets, 6,100 comments and 6,100 likes in one week (shown below, left).
On January 15th, King made an address to House of Representatives, following a resolution that would make an official disavowal of King's statements. He said in his statement that he would vote in favor of such a resolution (shown below).
Within Congress, King's comments were widely denounced. On January 14th, 2019, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out against King's comments. He said:
There is no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind. Rep. King’s statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position. If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.
That day, House Republicans stripped King of his place on the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees.
King responded forcefully to the removal, calling it an "unprecedented assault on [his] freedom of speech." He tweeted, "When I used the word 'THAT" it was in reference ONLY to Western Civilization and NOT to any previously stated evil ideology ALL of which I have denounced. My record as a vocal advocate for Western Civilization is nearly as full as my record in defense of Freedom of Speech." The tweet received more than 4,300 retweets, 9,300 likes and 13,000 comments (shown below).
On January 16th, 2019, Iowa newspaper the Sioux City Journal's Editorial Board called on Steve King to resign. They wrote:
It's time for Steve King to go. He should resign his seat in the U.S. House. A new election should be held for voters in Iowa's 4th Congressional District to choose a replacement […] It's hard for us to summon words that will properly convey how repugnant we view that remark.
Virtually every major news outlet covered the controversy, including The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, Washington Post, NBC and more
 The New York Times – Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics
 Twitter – @JuddLegum's Tweet
 Twitter – @ManInTheHoody's Tweet
 Twitter – @RWPUSA's Tweet
 Twitter – @stevekingia's Tweet
 HuffPost – Senate Leader Mitch McConnell Says GOP Rep. Steve King’s Racist Remarks Are ‘Unwelcome’
 Twitter – @SteveKingIA's Tweet
 Sioux City Journal – OUR OPINION: Steve King should resign
 The Hill – Top bishop in Steve King's district: White supremacy comments 'seem totally inappropriate'
 Politico – House Dems wrestle with issuing harsher punishment for Steve King
 Washington Post – A rebuke from Iowa: ‘It’s time for Steve King to go’
 NBC – Rep. Steve King crossed the line on race by using a bullhorn, not a dog whistle
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