It's time for Steve King to go. He should resign his seat in the U.S. House. A new election should be held for voters in Iowa's 4th Congressional District to choose a replacement.
After near-universal condemnation from both sides of the political aisle, a vote by House Republicans on Monday to strip him of all committee assignments, approval by the full House on Tuesday of a resolution (King voted for the resolution) rejecting "white nationalism" and "white supremacy" meant to, according to Roll Call, rebuke him and introduction in the House this week of two measures to censure him following his "white supremacy" comment in a Jan. 10 New York Times story, whatever measure of influence or effectiveness King possessed in the House is, in our view, gone. He is today, it appears to us, largely an outcast within the body in which he serves.
Incredibly, King created another controversy about race for himself just two months after the end of a campaign for House in which past controversial comments and actions of his related to race contributed in no insignificant fashion to the narrowest re-election victory of his career.
"Time and again in this space, we have criticized (King) for what we view as inflammatory or questionable comments and expressed concern about the impact of those comments on our district," we said in our Oct. 27 endorsement of J.D. Scholten, King's Democratic opponent in last year's House race. "Each time King immerses himself in controversy, he holds up this district to ridicule and marginalizes himself within the legislative body he serves, neither of which provides benefit to Iowans who live and work here.
"For example," we continued, "King earlier this month put himself - and, by extension, the rest of the district - in an unflattering spotlight with a tweet in support of a candidate for mayor of Toronto described in published reports as a 'white nationalist' or 'white supremacist.' That wasn't the first time King was tied, by his words or actions, to such intolerant ugliness."
In The Times story earlier this month, King said this: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
It's hard for us to summon words that will properly convey how repugnant we view that remark.
Taken together, past controversial King comments related to race, the King comment in The Times story and reaction to the comment in The Times story have produced the need for change in this district's House seat, in our view. Constituents deserve better and more from the man or woman we send to represent us in Washington, D.C.
If he cares deeply about citizens of the 4th, and we believe he does, King should do what is in their best interests and step down from office.
Finally, as our nation prepares to observe what would have been the 90th birthday of late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., let us all embrace equality and tolerance and reject, in all their reprehensible forms, inequality and intolerance.
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