Romney calls on King to resign as Ernst blasts ‘racist’ comments

Republican U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, the party’s presidential candidate in 2012, Monday called on Congressman Steve King to resign his House seat.

Romney, only days into representing Utah in Congress, joined a growing chorus of Republicans who have criticized King for the Kiron Republican’s endorsement of white nationalism in a New York Times article.

Congressman Steve King speaking to constituents in 2018.

Congressman Steve King speaking to constituents in 2018.

Romney told CNN there is no place for King in the Republican Party or Congress.

“I think he ought to step aside and I think Congress ought to make it very clear he has no place there,” Romney told CNN.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said on Sunday that “action will be taken” against King.

“I’m having a serious conversation with Congressman Steve King about his future and role in this Republican Party,” McCarthy told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I will not stand back as a leader of this party, believing in this nation that all are created equal, that that stands or continues to stand and have any role with us.”

The action could go so far as stripping King of his committee assignments, which include the House Agriculture Committee, a vital perch for an Iowan.

King’s fellow Iowa Republicans, some of whom only months ago had campaigned for him, are now abandoning the nine-term congressman.

“I condemn Rep. Steve King’s comments on white supremacy; they are offensive and racist — and not representative of our state of Iowa,” Ernst wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “We are a great nation and this divisiveness is hurting everyone. We cannot continue down this path if we want to continue to be a great nation.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds, who appeared at her final campaign on the night before the November election with King in Sioux Center, has said the congressman may now — just two months later — want to find a new career. She also said King’s 3-point margin over Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten opens the door to a primary — one State Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull walked through last week.

Asked by The New York Times about King’s comments, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said, “I find it offensive to claim white supremacy. I will condemn it.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky suggested King’s views on race make him unsuited for Congress.

“I have no tolerance for such positions and those who espouse these views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms,” McConnell said in a statement to The Hill newspaper.

“Rep. King’s statements are unwelcome and unworthy of his elected position,” McConnell added. “If he doesn’t understand why ‘white supremacy’ is offensive, he should find another line of work.”

According to Politico, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, announced he would be filing a censure motion on Monday to hold the Iowa Republican accountable for “his pattern of racist and xenophobic statements” going back to 2006. Shortly afterward, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, unveiled his own censure resolution, which specifically targets comments King made to The New York Times last week.

Late late week, Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the U.S. House and a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, characterized King’s observations as racist.

“These comments are abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse,” Cheney wrote in a Thursday tweet.