WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Iowa Congressman Steve King is firing back for what he calls an "unprecedented assault on my freedom of speech."
That "assault" came as House Republicans planned to block King from serving on any committees in the new Congress as punishment for his remarks about white supremacy.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced the move against King on Monday. He denounced King's remarks as "beneath the dignity of the Party of Lincoln and the United States of America."
In an interview with The New York Times, King questioned how the terms white nationalism and white supremacy became offensive.
Since the interview, he has denied that he's a racist and said his remarks were mischaracterized.
King issued a statement Monday night posted to his social media accounts claiming:
The truth is as follows:
One of my quotes in a New York Times story has been completely mischaracterized. Here's the context I believe accurately reflects my statement.
In a 56 minute interview, we discussed the changing use of language in political discourse. We discussed the worn out label "racist" and my observation that other slanderous labels have been increasingly assigned to Conservatives by the Left, who injected into our current political dialog such terms as Nazi, Fascist, 'White Nationalist, White Supremacist, -- Western Civilization, how did THAT language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?'...just to watch Western Civilization become a derogatory term in political discourse today. Clearly, I was only referencing Western Civilization classes. No one ever sat in a class listening to the merits of white nationalism and white supremacy.
When I used the word 'THAT' it was in reference ONLY to Western Civilization and NOT to any previously stated evil ideology ALL of which I have denounced. My record as a vocal advocate for Western Civilization is nearly as full as my record in defense of Freedom of Speech.
Ultimately, I told him 'You have to do what you have to do and I will do what I have to do.' I will continue to point out the truth and work with all the vigor that I have to represent 4th District Iowans for at least the next two years."