On Thursday, a quote from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) during an interview for The New York Times set off a political firestorm not only from Democrats but from Republican party members, as well.
‘White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?’
Now, GOP lawmakers are calling for King’s censure, his removal from congressional committees, and decrying his words, which should have come as no surprise. The Republican Party’s lone black senator, Tim Scott (R-SC) spoke out, as well.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Scott said:
‘King’s comments are not conservative views but separate views that should be ridiculed at every turn possible. Conservative principles mean equal opportunity for all to succeed, regardless of what you look like or where you are from. It is maddening to see so many folks who believe this and have only good intentions in their hearts tarnished by these radical perspectives.’
Republican Sen. Scott op-ed:
"When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole."https://t.co/X9wb7Q8gVR
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 11, 2019
Scott’s op-ed misses a lot of marks. He insists that it is Republican policies that have put poor and disadvantaged communities back to work although that happened under the presidency of President Obama. He believes it is the GOP’s silence on racism that has caused the problem when in truth it is what they say and not what they don’t say that’s led to the view of the GOP as the racist party.
However, Scott’s voice is needed among GOP policymakers, and he’s not remaining silent over King’s remarks.
‘That is why silence is no longer acceptable. It is tempting to write King — or other extremists on race issues, such as black-nationalist Louis Farrakhan — as lonely voices in the wilderness, but they are far more dangerous than that. They continue to rip at the fabric of our nation, a country built on hope, strength and diversity. It is the opposite of civility and fairness and will lead only to more pain and suffering.’
Steve King should be expelled from the House. His district can have a special election, this time with no Klansmen or persons of similar ilk on the ballot.https://t.co/nM5ikfD1wM
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) January 11, 2019
Scott’s take on these “intolerant and hateful views” ignores the very intolerant and hateful president, representing the GOP, who Republicans are too afraid to criticize. It also ignores the fact that it isn’t simply a perception from Democrats and anti-racists that see the GOP as racist, it’s Republicans, as well, who see it. That’s why David Duke is a Republican and several self-avowed white supremacists ran for GOP political seats during the 2018 midterms.
However, for the Republicans who do insist that they are opposed to racism, Scott is correct. It’s time to speak up.
‘We have made significant progress in our nation, and while there is still work to do, we cannot let these intolerant and hateful views hold us back. This is a uniquely fractured time in our nation’s history, not our worst but far from our best, and it is only together that we will rebuild the trust we seem to have lost in each other.’
An op-ed from @SenatorTimScott:
Republicans shouldn’t stand for hateful views. Rep. Steve King’s opinions damage the party. https://t.co/7Lm7jLXbpJ pic.twitter.com/onGpr9k0tU
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) January 11, 2019
Scott also magnanimously invited King to join his party in leading the call against racism. Considering some of King’s earlier statements, such as Western civilization being the sole contributors to civilized society, that’s unlikely to happen.
‘We must work to lead our nation forward. In the future, I hope Steve King takes the opportunity to join us.’
A reminder that @SteveKingIA referred to immigrants as “dirt” and lied about it after @RubensteinAdam reported it — even though the whole thing was on tape. https://t.co/kEayZHnecq
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 11, 2019
Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license