South Carolina’s GOP Sen. Tim Scott backpedaled after criticizing racist Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King. He couldn’t bring himself to call for King’s resignation even though others in his party are there already.
“I’m typically very reluctant to tell people what they should do because I don’t want people to tell me what I should do,” Scott said Wednesday when pressed by reporters after the House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously to condemn white supremacy, which King has advocated for years. “I’ve clearly not called on him to resign. And I’m not going to call on him to resign”
King has a history of making racist comments. In his most recent controversial statement, he defended white nationalism.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?” he asked the New York Times in an interview published on Jan.10.
The GOP came under pressure to reprimand King after years of looking the other way. As a first step, they removed King on Monday from serving this term on the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees. As a second step, they joined Democrats on Tuesday in a 424 – 1 vote to reject white nationalism and white supremacy ideology.
The carefully worded resolution, however, didn’t specifically name King, who ironically voted in favor of the measure.
Unlike Scott, some Republicans want King to resign from office, including Utah’s Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, who reportedly said King “should find another line of work,” according to Time.
Iowa’s largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register, published an editorial Tuesday that called on King to resign.
“Instead of holding town-hall meetings with his constituents, King spent many congressional breaks globe-trotting to Europe and hobnobbing with hard-right, nationalist leaders. These meetings apparently served to reinforce his own warped views of cultural purity and immigration,” the Register said.
Oddly enough, Scott penned a Washington Post op-ed, which ran on Jan. 11, that criticized King and the GOP.
“Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said,” the Black Republican wrote, referring to King’s latest defense of white supremacy.
But Scott can’t take the next step and call for the racist to resign.
“What happens next is really between him and his good Lord and between him and the leadership in Congress and the House,” Scott told reporters on Wednesday.