Embattled Congressman Steve King sent a letter directly to Nancy Pelosi as part of a campaign to lift his punishment for 'white supremacist' remarks

steve king

J. Scott Applewhite, File via AP

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa was removed from all committee assignments as punishment for making racially insensitive comments.
  • King has been repeatedly tried to appeal to House leadership and be reinstated.
  • King is also experiencing a wave of primary challengers in his home districts.

WASHINGTON - Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in February asking to change the congressional record to reflect his side of the story regarding racially insensitive comments he made during an interview with the New York Times.

King has appealed to congressional leadership multiple times after being punished for quotes given to the Times in which he questioned how terms like "white supremacist" became offensive. The interview eventually led to King being stripped of all committee assignments, leaving him without any legislative ability.
In the letter to Pelosi, King disputed the way that the Times presented the quote and asked the House Speaker to change the official House transcript to match what the lawmaker claims is the correct interpretation

"I write today to emphatically correct the quote once again to align with what I actually stated to The New York Times reporter and on the floor of the House of Representatives," King wrote. "As I state on the House floor, what I actually said was 'White nationalist, white supremacist - (there is a dash here as a pause) Western civilization, how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and civilization' - that is the end of the quote - just to watch 'Western civilization' become a derogatory term in political discourse today?"

Read more: Rep. Steve King says he supports the congressional resolution condemning his own words on 'white supremacy'

King went on to reiterate that he was only questioning why the term "Western Civilization" was offensive, not other terms like white supremacy and white nationalism.

King also noted that he is "the descendant of abolitionists and Union soldiers who fought and died to purge this land of the crime of human slavery" and regarding white supremacy, he "always will reject them completely.""I stipulate that the record reflect precisely my words, which are those of a man who loves his country and all its people and will continue to work for the betterment of our society for all Americans, who are all endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and are equal under the law," he concluded.

In the past few weeks since Republican leadership removed King from his committee posts, including a coveted spot on the House Judiciary Committee, the embattled congressman has inspired a handful of primary challengers in his home district.

King has also repeatedly attempted to clear his name. Earlier in February, King sent a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, which called on leadership to publicly apologize to him and reinstate his committee posts.

The letter was signed by more than 100 different conservative and Christian leaders, including Frank Gaffney, Jr., who the Southern Poverty Law Center said has consistently spread anti-Muslin conspiracy theories.

King is one of three House Republicans who has been stripped of their committee assignments and unable to conduct legislative work. The other two, Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York, were indicted for financial crimes.