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Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) doesn’t get the big deal about why the term “white supremacist” is so offensive. And so far, his colleagues are silent.

Rep. King became the top national trend on Twitter Thursday morning when an excerpt of an interview he gave to the New York Times went viral. King told the Times that he has no problem with immigration, provided that those coming to America assimilate to the culture put in place by white Europeans.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King asked reporters. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

As of this writing, neither House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) nor House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) have made any condemnation of King’s remarks, or any effort to distance the Republican Party from Rep. King. For what it’s worth, Rep. Scalise once described himself to be like former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke “without the baggage” in a 2002 meeting with neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

King, for his part, doesn’t understand the big deal about his association with neo-Nazis, like members of Austria’s fascist Freedom Party, which was founded by a former Nazi SS officer. In October of last year, King defended the Freedom Party in an interview with The Washington Post, saying that if the group was in the U.S. and pushing the same policies, they would be considered Republicans. King notably made those comments not long after the deadly anti-Semitic mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

While Reps. McCarthy and Scalise haven’t yet denounced their colleague, both of them wasted no time in calling out Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) after she called President Trump a “motherfucker” demanding his impeachment.

“You know what happened in the last Congress, when Republicans were in the majority? You know what our freshman class did?” McCarthy said last week. “They put a resolution together to actually work with one another, to not use foul language. And they got almost every single freshmen to sign on to it. This is the difference with this Congress, and it’s wrong.”

Scalise even demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) take disciplinary action against Tlaib for her comments.

“I’m surely not one to tell Nancy Pelosi what to do, but I think it’s a real test for her, how she responds to this. And it will continue happening if she doesn’t address the problem,” Scalise said. “How was she going to stand up to the most radical-left elements of her party when they become unhinged?”

 

Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.

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