Steve King Says Yes to Resolution Rebuking His Own Comments: ‘Let’s Vote for This’


On Tuesday, H.Res.41, a resolution “rejecting white nationalism and white supremacy” serving as a condemnation of remarks by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), came before the House. King himself stood to deliver floor remarks, and said he would be voting yes.

In the resolution’s text, King is mentioned among the “Whereas” statements.

Whereas, on January 10, 2019, Representative Steve King was quoted as asking, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?”;

Saying he recognized the “gravity’ of the issue before the House, King started off his remarks noting his own mention in the text of the resolution.

“I began to read this resolution, Madam Speaker, and I started with the first whereas, and I’m going to read it as it’s here,” he said. He then began to read it, with commentary.

“Whereas on January 10, 2019, representative Steve king was quoted as asking, quote, white nationalists, white supremacist, western civilization — there is a dash in there, a pause — how did that language become offensive, close quote. I understand how you interpreted my words when you read them this way. There is no tape for this interview that I did. It was 56 minutes long. There are some notes on the other end, but there is no tape. There’s no way to go back and listen but I can tell you this: That ideology never shows up in my head. I don’t know how it could possibly come out of my mouth.”

“So I am going to tell you that the words are likely what I said. But I want to read it to you the way I believe I said it. And that’s this. White nationalists, white supremacists, 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’s the end of the quote — just to watch western civilization become a derogatory term in political discourse today? That’s what I believe happened. And it’s 13 minutes, ironically, that’s caused this firestorm. And, again, I regret that we are in this place. I read all of the rest of the resolutions that are here.”

He goes on to say that each of the subsequent whereases are correct. “I agree with all of them. I agree with every word you have put in this,” he said. “It’s an honest and direct resolution put together to address the subject that has been too long before the public dialogue in this country.”

He said the resolve is the “meat” of these, and read that aloud as well. Here is the original text from the resolution.

Resolved, 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.

“Well, I agree with that,” said King. He explained that when he took his oath of office weeks ago, the Bible upon which he placed his hand was that of his great uncle, who carried it during the Civil War. “I come from a family of abolitionists,” he said.

King said the principle that all are created equal is in his own “heart, work, soul,” but suggested that is not the case for the press, because of their reporting on Trump. “The New York Times has a different version of this,” he said about those ideals. “They make a habit of attacking the president, as a matter of fact.”

He said that the interview was long, and suggested the NYT took him out of context, or misinterpreted his comments, lamenting the lack of video.

King concluded by saying of the resolution, “I agree with the language in it. So I want to ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, let’s vote for this 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.”

Despite the congressman’s concerted effort to separate himself from the resolution, and to blame the New York Times, which is not mentioned in either a “whereas” or a “resolved”, the issue came before the House on Tuesday as a specific rebuke of King and his comments. It comes in the same week that his own party has stripped him of all committee assignments, and where he’s been roundly criticized by his colleagues. It was a condemnation of his own commentary, and he voted yes on that condemnation.

By the way, the Congressman was not the only King mentioned in the resolution. From HR 41:

Whereas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while recognizing that “no other nation can mean to us what our nation means”, condemned “nationalism perverted into chauvinism and isolationism” as “preached by … the advocators of white supremacy” and asked, “Will we continue to serve the false god of racial prejudice or will we serve the God who made of one blood all men to dwell upon the face of the earth?”;

You’ll note the added rebuke of nationalism there. Representative King, in his floor remarks, did not.

UPDATE: The resolution passed 424-1, with only Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) against, on the grounds that it failed to censure King. The fact that it did not is the hook upon which King hung the above spin.

Watch the clip above, courtesy of C-SPAN.

[Featured image via screengrab]

Follow Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) on Twitter

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