June 26, 2019

Republican Senator Calls on GOP to Denounce Rep. Steve King

Photo from Flickr/Gage Skidmore.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post on Friday calling on his Republican colleagues to condemn Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for asking how the term “white supremacist” became offensive.

On Thursday, The New York Times published an article that quoted King as saying, “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?”

Scott wrote that “anyone who needs ‘white nationalist’ or ‘white supremacist’ defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge,” pointing to the 2017 Charlottesville riots as among the examples of the violence of white supremacists.

“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. “Immigration is the perfect example, in which somehow our affection for the rule of law has become conflated with a perceived racism against brown and black people.”

Scott added that King’s remarks are not compatible with conservatism, which he says stresses “equal opportunity” for everyone.

“That is why silence is no longer acceptable,” Scott wrote. “It is tempting to write King — or other extremists on race issues, such as black-nationalist Louis Farrakhan — as lonely voices in the wilderness, but they are far more dangerous than that. They continue to rip at the fabric of our nation, a country built on hope, strength and diversity. It is the opposite of civility and fairness and will lead only to more pain and suffering.”

The Anti-Defamation League praised Scott’s op-ed:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are among the Republicans who have denounced King’s comments:

On the floor of the House of Representatives on Friday, King said that what he was trying to say was how words like “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” become a part of the political lexicon:

There is no indication that King will be censured at this time.