House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised Sunday that action would be taken against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who ignited controversy last week after he questioned why terms like "white nationalism" and "white supremacy" had "become offensive".
He drew attention to comments made by King on Thursday, when the Iowan wondered aloud: "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization - how did that language become offensive?"
"Republicans should make clear Mr. King is no longer welcomed in their party or Congress". And I will tell you this: I've watched on the other side that they do not take action when their members say something like this.
"We're not asking the Democrats to do something they haven't done before".
Still, when asked whether he would support King in the future, Cruz said only he would "urge everyone to stand for principles that matter". "That would allow us to do the job that needs to be done".
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"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", McCarthy said. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) strongly rebuked King's comments and the congressman himself. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?" President Donald Trump was roundly criticized - including by Scott and other Republicans - for his failure to condemn white supremacists following a violent 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one counter-protester dead.
"I didn't know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group", he told the Times-Picayune newspaper then.
Many were outraged by King's comments questioning the offensiveness of white supremacy. I think all of us ought to be united regardless of party in saying white supremacist, white nationalism is hatred, it is bigotry, it is evil, it is wrong.
Just ahead of last year's midterm elections, the chairman of the House GOP's campaign arm issued an extraordinary public denunciation of him.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds indicated Wednesday that she won't support King in the 2020 GOP primary.