MASON CITY, Iowa - An Iowa congressman blocked from serving on any committees in congress and facing mounting pressure to resign. U.S. Representative Steve King is facing backlash in Washington and at home after an interview with the New York Times where he made racist comments.
"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" the Iowa Republican told The New York Times in a story published last Thursday.
Now, there are calls for him to resign.
“I think he ought to step aside and I think congress ought to make it very clear he has no place there,” says Utah Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney.
King serves much of north Iowa, including those in Mason City so we had to wonder what local people think of this. Some who voted for him could not go on camera because of their job and the divisiveness of this issue but tell KIMT they believe King has the best interest of Iowans in mind and that his comments were taken out of context. King issued a statement saying the times completely mischaracterized what he said. He says, "when saying how did *that* language become offensive - he was referring only to western civilization, not to any evil ideology". But other local constituents like Linda Foell aren't buying it.
“I think maybe if it was one time it could have been taken out of context but I think for many years he's said things that I think are very offensive and I think this is just the icing on the cake. I am really glad to see the actions taken, I think they should have been taken much earlier,” says Foell.
On Monday House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy announced King wouldn't be seated on any committees this Congress because of his comments. His loss of committee assignments on the judiciary and agriculture committees renders him virtually powerless in terms of legislating which could be a problem as he already has a challenger in the 2020 election. As for what's next for the congressman, he has made no mention of resigning. If his seat would become vacant, a special election would have to be held to fill his spot in congress.