Congress

Steve King controversy deepens, with Liz Cheney now calling for resignation

House Republicans’ No. 3 leader wants Iowa Republican gone

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., thinks Rep. Steve King should resign. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The No. 3 House Republican is calling on Rep. Steve King to resign, exposing a rift among GOP leaders as the controversy over the Iowa Republican continues coming to a head.

“I agree with Leader McConnell actually. I think he should find another line of work,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney said Tuesday morning. That was a reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who on Monday said if King did not know what was wrong with white supremacy and white nationalism, as he said in a recent New York Times article, he should get out of politics. 

“I think you’ve seen now repeated — this wasn’t the first time — but his language questioning whether or not the notion of white supremacy is offensive is absolutely abhorrent. It’s racist. We do not support it or agree with it,” Cheney said.

Other Republicans, notably Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah, have also called on King to resign.

Watch: Steve King — ‘I want to ask my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, let’s vote for this resolution’

But that position is not shared by all Republican leaders. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday said it was up to King, while at the same time continuing to denounce his racist comments.

“I think that’s up to Steve King. The voters have elected him. The House Republicans denounce his language. We do not believe in his language. And we’ve decided that he will not serve on any committees. I’ll leave that up to him to make that decision.”

McCarthy met with King on Monday and then proceeded to convene a meeting of the Republican Steering Committee, which voted not to seat King on any committees for the 116th Congress.

King also is facing a House vote on a resolution of disapproval filed by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, as well as resolutions of censure from Democratic Reps. Bobby Rush of Illinois and Tim Ryan of Ohio. 

Asked whether the National Republican Congressional Committee should support a primary challenger against King, McCarthy said, “This is still early about whether Steve King is even running again for re-election.”

He declined to urge King not to run for re-election, again saying that’s a decision for King to make.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.