Rep. Steve King compares his political struggles to the persecution of Jesus

By Emily Tillett

/ CBS News

Steve King removed from committee assignments

Rep. Steve King, who was stripped of his committee assignments by the House GOP leadership earlier after making a string of racist statements, says his political travails have given him "better insight" into what Jesus Christ went through.

King was removed from his committee assignments after he appeared to express confusion about why the term "white supremacist" had became unacceptable during a January interview with The New York Times. On Tuesday, he told constituents that the move was "injust [sic] as anything that has taken place" and "unprecedented in the history of the United States Congress."

"The New York Times misquoted me and created a firestorm and was the equivalent of apolitical lynch bomb. I can not let that stand and let that be a mark because this is going to be the pattern for going forward," he added.

King then said he finds he's at a "certain peace" despite the criticism because of "a lot of the prayers for me."

"When I have to step down to the floor of the House of Representatives and look up at those 400-and-some accusers, you know we just passed through Easter and Christ's passion, and I have better insight into what he went through for us, partly because of that experience," he added.

At the same town hall, King, touting his work co-sponsoring legislation to make English the official language of Iowa, said that "having a common language is the most powerful unifying force known to all humanity" when asked about how to tackle the immigration crisis.

King has been criticized a number of times for making inflammatory comments in recent years. In March, he attracted attention for unfavorably comparing victims of Hurricane Katrina to Iowans affected by severe flooding.

The nine-term congressman has said he will seek re-election in 2020 in Iowa's largely rural and conservative 4th District.

First published on April 24, 2019 / 12:23 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Emily Tillett

Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital

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