The GOP Almost Breaks With Steve King

On Friday, I said that the GOP should kick Steve King out of their party. Specifically, I argued that they should take two steps if they’re serious about disassociating themselves from his open support of white nationalism and white supremacy. I said they should strip him of his committee assignments and deny him access to their caucus meetings.

Well, the rarest of things happened on Monday night. The Republican Steering Committee took my advice and had a meeting where they agreed to deny King assignments on the Judiciary, Agriculture, and Small Business committees that he served on in the last Congress. In this Congress, he will have no committee positions, which assigns him to complete irrelevance and badly damages his prospects for reelection.

They deserve kudos for taking this step. Unfortunately, they didn’t take my second piece of advice. (Emphasis mine).

The Republican Steering Committee unanimously decided Monday evening not to seat Iowa Rep. Steve King on any committees for the 116th Congress, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters.

Earlier in the day, McCarthy met with King and communicated his intention to recommend that action to the Steering Committee. After the panel met and agreed with McCarthy’s recommendation, the California Republican said he called King to inform him of Steering’s decision.

King will still be allowed to attend House Republican Conference meetings, McCarthy said.

It’s unclear why King will still be allowed to attend meetings of the Republican caucus. Of my two recommendations, stripping him of his committee assignments was clearly the harsher measure, but by not taking the second step, the GOP is failing to clearly disassociate themselves from King. He’s still clearly a member of their caucus.

They accomplished one thing. You won’t be seeing Rep. King on CSPAN during high-profile committee hearings. Since he’s no longer on the Judiciary Committee, he won’t be a presence during any impeachment hearings, for example. That solves the optics problem where it counts most.

But we can still point to the fact that they seem comfortable enough with his white supremacy to keep him in their caucus and to invite him to their strategy sessions. In my book, that’s a big failure. It’s a political failure and a moral failure.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com