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An Open Letter to GOP Congressional Leadership

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

That’s a quote Representative Steve King gave The New York Times in an interview just last week. The congressman, who barely clung to victory in 2018, has been embroiled in similar controversy over his anti-semitic remarks in response to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, only weeks prior to the midterm election.

King’s statements set off a firestorm in the mainstream media, which led to denunciation by members of his own party, including Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy subsequently stripped Rep. King of his committee assignments.

I applaud Leader McCarthy’s decision to strip King of his committee assignments, particularly his seat on the House Judiciary Committee. Any Member of Congress who uses this racist rhetoric should not have a hand in legislation that affects our justice system, which intends to ensure equality for all Americans.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell was right to suggest King “find a new line of work”. However, Republican leadership should act on this sentiment rather than settling for denunciations in the media. I urge House Republicans to put forth a resolution to censure Rep. Steve King and call for his resignation.

In an op-ed last week, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) said a lack of meaningful action against King is why Republicans are accused of racism, and I could not agree more. As of Jan. 15, the House unanimously passed a resolution condemning white nationalism, with supporters, ironically, including King himself. King’s ‘yes’ vote for this resolution is nothing more than a blatant attempt to cover his tracks and save what is left of his career.

As an ambassador of the GOP at The George Washington University, I believe anything less than a whole-hearted rejection of Rep. King harms our ability to expand the party’s reach and advance the ideals we hold dear. I hope that his continued efforts to deny and cover up his remarks are exposed and rebuked by additional leadership.

If Rep. King refuses to resign, Republican leadership and caucus members must ostracize him from their ranks. Should King run for re-election in 2020, I urge the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the Republican National Committee to support a primary challenger in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District.

Representative King’s continued assertion that multiculturalism and the advancement of minority peoples in the United States works to the detriment of others is categorically false. In fact, it is the very ethnic, religious, and ideological diversity of our country that makes us stronger. The Republican Party stands for equality of opportunity and the principles of liberty and justice for all, but those will continue to be called into question as long as Steve King is a member of the United States House of Representatives and the Republican Caucus.

Cole Perry

Chairman, GW College Republicans

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