Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) announced Monday that he will move to introduce a resolution to formally censure Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) over comments King made to the New York Times last week.
“Steve King’s pattern of despicable comments harken back to the dark days of American history where his rabid, racist remarks would have been acceptable to a significant portion of our nation,” Rush said in a press release.
“This must come to a screeching halt right now,” he added. “The U.S. Congress cannot be a platform for Steve King and those of his ilk.”
King has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans after he questioned how the terms “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” became offensive in an interview with the Times. The comments drew sharp criticism from Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who penned an op-ed for the Washington Post arguing that his party is often accused of racism because of their silence on comments like those made by King.
Rush singled out Republican silence on King’s past remarks in his statement on Monday:
“He has become too comfortable with proudly insulting, disrespecting, and denigrating people of color. As with any animal that is rabid, Steve King should be set aside and isolated. His rabid racism continues to stain and embarrass this body and the years of deliberate silence from Republicans have only emboldened his ignorant and immoral behavior and empowered those who emulate him.”
The Illinois Democrat also called out Republicans for seeking endorsements from King in the past and allowing him to hold “positions of influence” despite his history of bigoted and racist rhetoric. Previously, King had served as a chairman of a Judiciary subcommittee on civil justice.
“Only now that his behavior is well known to those outside the beltway and tainted him politically, do they vigorously denounce him,” Rush said. “Knowing this, no reasonable person should take their tweets, statements, and op-eds seriously.”
Rush also called on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to remove King from any committee assignments “until he apologies for his racism.”
McCarthy hinted at some sort of punishment for King during a Sunday interview on “Face the Nation,” but declined to give any specifics.
“That language has no place in America,” King told host Margaret Brennan.
Watch the video below, via CBS News:
McCarthy told Brennan he would be meeting with King on Monday and promised that “action will be taken.”
“I’m having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King on his future and role in this Republican Party,” he said.