Political News

Only lawmaker to vote against Steve King resolution: 'Not worth the paper that it was written on'

Posted January 15, 2019 9:56 p.m. EST

— The lone member of the House of Representatives who voted against a resolution rejecting white supremacy and white nationalism following racist comments by Rep. Steve King said the resolution fell short and was "not worth the paper that it was written on."

"It did not go far enough," Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois told CNN's Erin Burnett on "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Tuesday evening.

The resolution was proposed after King, an Iowa Republican, made racist comments in a story published last week by The New York Times where he seemed to lament that the term "white supremacist" is considered offensive.

The congressman's comments sparked bipartisan outrage, and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California announced Monday that King would not be seated on any committees this Congress as punishment.

Rush said the resolution, approved by 424-1, was "shallow" and of "little import" to American citizens. He said it "became obsolete before the ink on the paper dried."

Rush told CNN the resolution "fell far short" of what he believes the actions by lawmakers should have been in response to King's comments. Rush has introduced his own censure resolution, which represents a stronger rebuke specifically focused on the Iowa Republican.

Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, who put forth the measure, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on "Anderson Cooper 360" that he had chosen to have members vote on disapproval of King, as opposed to the stronger option of censure, to garner support from as many of them as possible.

"When you want the Congress to act with overwhelming support, you try to get the language you feel that people will be comfortable with," he said. "So what we were trying to do is to get the House to express disapproval of Mr. King, (and) at the same time condemn white supremacy and white nationalism."

Clyburn added that "to go further than that at this particular juncture, I thought would not yield the number of votes that I wanted to see today."

Rush told Burnett he wants members of the House to go further, "to repudiate, to regurgitate, to indeed censure Steve King. His comments should not be given a moment of consideration by this US Congress."

King voted for the resolution and said on the House floor that he agrees "with the language in it" referring to the part condemning white supremacy and white nationalism. He continues to maintain that his comments were taken out of context.

Rush called King "unrepentant" and "racist," and said he has a "legacy and a history of saying the most vile things condemning Americans." Rush said King has been "using the official status as a member of Congress ... as a platform to propagate his vile and racist commentary."

There is growing pressure for the congressman to resign, but Republicans are far from united on calls for him to step down.

On Monday, President Donald Trump said, "I haven't been following it," when asked by reporters about King's comments.

Rush told CNN he believes Trump is "in concert" with King and is "very versed in the racist antics of Steve King." He said King "wrote the President's playbook in regards to how a racist should really conduct himself."

Rush said Trump "believes in Steve King. He honors Steve King. He emulates Steve King. He exalts Steve King."