Written by Staff Writer by Ryan Browne, CNN
The top Democrat on the US House of Representatives said Sunday that “the values are still too many” after House lawmakers voted unanimously to censure a Republican congressman who shouted, “I’m sick and tired of you lying to me.”
“I was shocked that Republicans on this committee decided to give my Republican colleague a pass,” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said. “What he said was cruel and contemptible and the values are still too many.”
Texas Rep. Steve King’s comments came during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration. On Thursday, he was quoted as saying, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
In response, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, wrote in a scathing statement that King “attacks our national identity, and threatens the prosperity and way of life of all Americans. That was never appropriate and it is offensive.”
Democrats then launched a bipartisan censure of King, which began with Pelosi reading his comments from a Washington Post op-ed into the Congressional Record on Friday.
In response, Republican Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida stood up and shouted, “You are trying to impeach me.”
King told CNN after the House passed the resolution that he “had no idea what I was doing.”
“My understanding was a committee member spoke last, and I think that was Congressman (Raul) Labrador. I certainly have hurt a lot of people and I am ashamed,” King said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
He added, “I’m not running for office. I was reading the language. I don’t think my colleagues will miss me that much. But, again, I read the words from an article. I never intended to go forward, and what I’ll probably try to do is just stand back and watch and get a different perspective.”
King is facing intense scrutiny for his past comments, which have been highly controversial. In October 2016, King raised eyebrows after he warned that NFL players “shouldn’t be allowed to kneel” during the national anthem, arguing, “I’m not an NFL fan.”
The New York Times reported in July 2017 that a former King staffer found racist language on King’s desk, prompting his office to issue a statement, “Some of Representative King’s remarks may be offensive to some, but they are not true.”
Since that report, King has apologized for “the hurtful words” that were written on his desk.
Ahead of the House vote, King released a statement accusing Pelosi of “playing politics” with his speech.
“I’ve spoken at many different Congresses and more than three decades of leadership here. I have repeatedly been recognized as one of the most dignified and articulate members of the House,” King said. “All these are accomplishments that Republicans and Democrats can agree on. … We’re in an America now where everybody’s against everything; everything seems to be a campaign issue and there’s no other kind of politics left. … I am perplexed and disappointed that Representative Pelosi is playing politics with my words and calling it a censure. … When Democratic colleagues have worked with me on shared priorities they have had no such complaints.”
King faced criticism for his remarks on immigration and World War II veterans in January, when he suggested that the nation’s largest group of World War II veterans has been misused by “open borders” groups who don’t want to pay for the costs of establishing new immigration laws.
“Do I feel at all remorse? I don’t think so,” King said in a January interview with The New York Times. “Do I regret the offense to the World War II vets? Yes, I do.”
On “Fox News Sunday,” Pelosi said “he crossed a line in a very demeaning way” and “came across in a very demeaning way.”