A GOP congressman punished for making racist remarks slams his fellow Republicans for subjecting him to a 'political lynch mob'

Steve KingIowa congressman Steve King lost his committee assignments earlier this year.AP Photo/Charlie Neibergal

  • Iowa GOP congressman Steve King is attempting a comeback after Republican leadership revoked his committee assignments as punishment for racist comments he made earlier this year, Politico recently reported.
  • King told Politico that he and a few of his Republican allies in Congress are mounting a bid to get him back on the House Judiciary and Agriculture committees - but their efforts don't seem to be gaining much traction.
  • King was resoundingly rebuked for racist remarks he made to The New York Times in a January 2019 interview where he wondered, "white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization - how did that language become offensive?"

  • Loss of committee assignments is a serious punishment for members of Congress since the vast majority of the work in Congress is done in committee.
  • Visit Business insider's homepage for more stories.

Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa told Politico that he and a few of his Republican allies in Congress are mounting a bid to get him back on the House Judiciary and Agriculture committees - but according to King, their efforts don't seem to be gaining much traction.

King is attempting a comeback after Republican leadership revoked his committee assignments as a punishment for racist comments he made earlier this year.

In an interview with Politico, King described himself as being the target of "a political lynch mob" and said he "had to let the blood cool" for a few months before broaching the issue of his committee assignments.

King was resoundingly rebuked for racist remarks he made to The New York Times in a January 2019 interview.

"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization - how did that language become offensive?" King wondered to The Times."Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"

Read more: Rep. Steve King says being condemned by Congress for his racist remarks was like Jesus Christ's suffering

King's remarks sparked widespread, bipartisan outrage and condemnation, despite King's claims that he had been misquoted and misunderstood.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy expelled King from serving on any committees in the 116th Congress, and the House passed a near-unanimous resolution denouncing white supremacy in all forms.

While King has been continually re-elected since his first run in 2002 despite a long track-record of tacitly supporting avowed white supremacists and making racist comments, the loss of his committee assignments was the strongest rebuke he'd ever received from Republican leadership.

Loss of committee assignments is a serious punishment for members of Congress. The vast majority of the work in Congress is done in committee, and membership in specialized committees uniquely allows members to deliver benefits back to their districts and achieve concrete legislative accomplishments.

According to Politico, King has recruited fellow ultra-conservative members including Reps. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Louie Gohmert of Texas to help him get the necessary backing of 25 other members of Congress to petition the House Steering Committee, which controls committee assignments, to consider reinstating King to his previous assignments.

But apart from the support of those few members, King's attempted comeback isn't making much progress among the broader Republican caucus.

Read more: Embattled Rep. Steve King sent a letter directly to Nancy Pelosi as part of a campaign to lift his punishment for 'white supremacist' remarks

"They think if they can keep the subject tamped down, that eventually, it goes away. But each day that goes by, my patience gets thinner and thinner. And that means, then, that I have to turn this up," King said.

Other members who have been stripped of their committee assignments include Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and Rep. Chris Collins of New York, who have both been indicted on federal charges of violating campaign finance law and insider trading, respectively.

Republican leadership taking action against King came after the party lost 40 House seats in the 2018 midterm elections, with King winning his 2018 re-election bid against Democrat J.D. Scholten by just 3.37 percentage points in his solidly Republican district.

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