GOP leader pushes back after Steve King says House leadership will ‘exonerate’ him
Steve King speaks to MSNBC (screen grab)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was expelled from his positions on several House committees after his party turned on him last year. But at a forum on Monday, per the Sioux City Journal, he announced that he had reached a deal with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to get those assignments restored.

“On April 20, Kevin McCarthy and I reached an agreement that he would advocate to the steering committee to put all of my committees back, all of my seniority," said King. “When Congress comes back into session ... I have Kevin McCarthy’s word that that will be my time for exoneration.”

There's only one problem: McCarthy is pushing back on the idea he made any such promise to King, according to Politico on Wednesday.

"Sources close to McCarthy said he only agreed to allow King to pitch the GOP steering committee on the idea at some point, and that it would only cover the Congress starting next year," reported Melanie Zanona and John Bresnahan. "The sources also said McCarthy has no intention of removing anyone from a panel to put King on."

One other Republican on the steering committee, former NRCC chairman Steve Stivers, has also poured cold water on the idea, tweeting: "As long as I am a member of the Republican Steering Committee, I will not allow hate & bigotry to influence the legislation passed by Congress. He will not be serving on any committee."

King has a long history of racist and xenophobic behavior, from claiming that most young Mexicans are drug mules with "calves the size of cantaloupes," to saying, "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies," to giving an interview to a far-right party founded by a former Nazi officer while on a Holocaust education trip in Europe. The GOP booted him off of his committees after he bemoaned to The New York Times the fact that "white supremacist" and "white nationalist" had become offensive.