The Republican Leadership announced Monday night that Rep. Steve King (R, IA-4) would be stripped of all his committee assignments, including his prominent places on the Agriculture and Judicial committees.
House Republican leaders removed Representative Steve King of Iowa from the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees on Monday night as party officials scrambled to appear tough on racism and contain damage from comments Mr. King made to The New York Times questioning why white supremacy is considered offensive.
The punishment came on a day when Mr. King was denounced by an array of Republican leaders, though not President Trump. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, suggested Mr. King find “another line of work” and Senator Mitt Romney said he should quit. And the House Republicans, in an attempt to be proactive, stripped him of the committee seats in the face of multiple Democratic resolutions to censure Mr. King that are being introduced this week.
For his part King is claiming he was misunderstood, taken out of context, and is being treated unfairly.
In the two-minute audio, King was bantering with a handful of supporters at the back of an Iowa restaurant during a campaign stop on Nov. 5. He talked about pheasant hunting and his “patented pheasant noodle soup” sprinkled with whole jalapeño peppers he had grown himself. Around the 1:20 mark, King joked that he’d have to get some “dirt from Mexico” to grow his next batch of peppers because they didn’t have enough bite.
“Trust me, it’s already on its way,” a supporter quipped, appearing to refer to the caravan of Central American migrants traveling from Mexico to the U.S.-Mexico border.
King engaged, saying: “Well, yeah, there’s plenty of dirt. It’s coming from the West Coast, too. And a lot of other places, besides. This is the most dirt we’ve ever seen.”
The exchange, which appears to dehumanize immigrants, was recounted in an article by Weekly Standard assistant opinion editor Adam Rubenstein, who was covering the campaign event and has been critical of King. His story, published on Election Day, included a transcript of the conversation but not the audio.
King demanded The Weekly Standard release the tape, then scrambled and fell back on the same “out of context” excuse when they did just that and showed their reporting to be accurate. The problem with Steve King is Steve King. Apparently, even the Republican leadership aren’t buying Steve King’s excuses this time.