Government

Woodbury County GOP offers support for Steve King, chides House GOP leaders

U.S. Rep. Steve King talks with someone during a reception by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May. 3, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
U.S. Rep. Steve King talks with someone during a reception by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May. 3, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

SIOUX CITY — Woodbury County Republican leaders have passed a resolution that supports U.S. Rep. Steve King and rebukes U.S. House GOP leaders for their decision to strip King of his committee assignments over his published comments on white supremacy.

King, an outspoken conservative, came under fire for a Jan. 10 quote in a New York Times story in which he asked, “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?”

The Iowa 4th District congressman has since repeatedly tried to distance himself from the comments, claiming he was misquoted and refuting suggestions that he harbors white supremacist or white nationalist views.

King said he considers himself a Nationalist trying to preserve Western Civilization.

“Since when is asking a question qualify one to be punished?” the Woodbury County GOP Central Committee said in the resolution. “Our Founding Fathers felt very strongly that to have a free country we needed freedom of speech. However if we are not careful, we will no longer be able to have a debate over differing ideas and opinions or express our views if they differ from the liberal left.”

Sioux City is the county seat for Woodbury, the largest of the 39 counties in the 4th District.

In the wake of the national uproar over King’s comments, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy removed King from his four committee assignments for the next two years. The House also passed a rare resolution rebuking King for his comments.

“We are very disappointed in the national Republican leadership who denied Rep. King of his rightful due process in believing a New York Times reporter over King’s testimony and his nine terms of honorable service,” the Woodbury County Republicans said in the resolution. “We believe the opposition decided to ambush Rep. King since they could not get enough votes to defeat him in the recent election.”

King, a nine-term incumbent, eked out a 3-point win over Democrat J.D. Scholten in November in the heavily Republican district.

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Woodbury County Republican Party Chair Suzan Stewart said the resolution was unanimously approved on Feb. 12.

King, who has announced plans to run for re-election in 2020, has already drawn at least three GOP challengers. His primary opponents include state Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull, Woodbury County Supervisor and former state legislator Jeremy Taylor of Sioux City, and former Irwin Mayor Bret Richards.

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