Des Moines Register calls on Steve King to resign

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

Steve King removed from committee assignments

The Des Moines Register, Iowa's leading newspaper, published an editorial Tuesday calling on Rep. Steve King due to his racist comments published in the New York Times this week, when he questioned why the terms "white supremacist" and "white nationalist" were bad. King has previously drawn controversy for racist comments relating to immigrants and his support of far-right international leaders.

"Congressman Steve King should resign. He has lost even the potential to effectively represent his Iowa constituents because of his abhorrent comments about white nationalism and white supremacy," the editorial said.

King was stripped of his committee assignments by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, including on the influential Agriculture Committee, which the Register argued left Iowa's 4th District insufficiently represented. The editorial was also critical of his support for extremist international leaders, such as endorsing Faith Goldy, a right-wing commentator who appeared on a neo-Nazi podcast, for mayor of Toronto.

"Instead of holding town-hall meetings with his constituents, King spent many congressional breaks globe-trotting to Europe and hobnobbing with hard-right, nationalist leaders. These meetings apparently served to reinforce his own warped views of cultural purity and immigration," the editorial said, adding that King had made "Iowa a laughingstock on the national stage."

Although King has been making controversial comments for years, he began shedding support from donors and fellow Republicans before the election and after the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and after "it had been revealed that King spent time on a trip funded by a Holocaust memorial organization to meet with a far-right Austrian group associated with neo-Nazis."

"We don't make the argument that King should resign lightly, or based on partisan preferences. He was duly re-elected to a ninth term in November by voters who had every opportunity to recognize the Kiron Republican's caustic, racially charged ideology related to immigration," the editorial said.

However, echoing the words of Sen. Mitt Romney and other Republicans saying that King should seek a new line of work, the editorial said that King had given the Times a "career-ending quote."

King on Tuesday voted in favor of House resolution condemning his comments supporting white supremacy and nationalism, saying he agrees with the language in the resolution of disapproval. "What you state here is right and it's true and it's just," King said on the House floor, before the measure received a 424-1 vote.

House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn had put forward a motion of disapproval condemning white supremacy and white nationalism on Monday.

First published on January 15, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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