McConnell says there's 'no place in the Republican Party' for racism amid Rep. Steve King controversy
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to meet with Rep. Steve King over racially insensitive comments
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., slammed Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King on Monday over recent remarks King made about the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist,” arguing that if the representative “doesn't understand why 'white supremacy' is offensive, he should find another line of work.”
“There is no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind,” McConnell said. “I have no tolerance for such positions and those who espouse these views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. Rep. King's statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position.”
King, 69, was already under fire from Republicans for aligning himself with a white nationalist politician and making a series of racially charged remarks when he made the head-turning comment in an interview published last week.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King asked The New York Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
In a statement after the article was published, King insisted that he rejected what he called the "evil ideology" of white nationalism and supremacy, and reiterated that he considers himself a "nationalist" who supports the values of "Western civilization."
But King has faced criticism over a series of racial remarks.
Last year, he tweeted “culture and demographics are our destiny” and said we “can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies.”
In 2013, he commented that while he has some sympathy for some illegal immigrants, "they aren't all valedictorians, they weren't all brought in by their parents -- for everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."
McConnell’s repudiation of King’s remarks comes one day after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced disciplinary action against King. The two met on Monday but didn't immediately comment on what was discussed.
That meeting came just hours after Rep. Bobby Rush, R-Ill., introduced a resolution to censure King.
Censure is one of three formal modes of punishment in the House, falling between a reprimand and expulsion.
Republicans can also remove King from his committee assignments. King, who has served in the House since 2003, sits on several key committees, including the Judiciary and Agriculture committees.
Fox News' Gregg Re contributed to this report