WASHINGTON–Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver had sympathetic words to say about his colleague Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King late last month on Capitol Hill.
“Steve King and I have a good relationship as far as I know. We talk and joke and. You know, I think a couple of years ago…he said I guess, somebody had called him a racist or something. I can’t remember clearly, but I said, ‘Steve, I don’t call people racist. You know, I think we all have to be very careful about the words we use.’ But, I get along with him fine,’” said Cleaver, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
King has served in Congress since 2003 while Cleaver began his first term in 2005 and both agree they have a strong collegial relationship despite often disagreeing on political issues.
Cleaver discusses relationship with Rep. King Pt. 1
Since the beginning of the year, the Iowa congressman has been treated as a pariah from both sides of the aisle since the House passed an anti-white nationalism censure resolution condemning King about his past remarks.
The censure came after King became the center of scrutiny following an interview with The New York Times when he reportedly said back in January, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
King claimed in a tweet that his remarks were “mischaracterized” and taken out of context by The Times. Times reporter Trip Gabriel did not tape the 56-minute long interview and only typed written notes of King’s statements, KWQC reported. The Times would not release Gabriel’s notes either.
The Iowa congressman has been treated as a pariah from both sides of the aisle since the House passed an anti-white nationalism censure resolution condemning King about his past remarks…
“One phrase in that long article has created an unnecessary controversy, King told The Des Moines Register. “That was my mistake.” NYT also says that King “argued he was quoted out of context. He was not.”
Cleaver discusses relationship with Rep. King Pt. 2
Despite his protestations on the matter to the House Republican leadership, King lost all of his committee assignments on Agricultural, Judiciary, and the Small Business.
“You’ll never hear me calling [King] names. I don’t do that…I don’t want to, you know, trespass into Republican conference matters. All I can say is my personal relationship with him has not changed and I don’t see any reason for it to change,” the Missouri Democrat said.
Cleaver continued, “I think he’ll tell you that we still joke. It’s as if nothing happened, and I’m very aware of all the issues and I know that sometimes, and I never heard any of it, but I know sometimes Steve gets beat up for the way he says things.”
Cleaver noted the late North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones, another GOP lawmaker he became friends with over the years who lost his committee assignment in 2012 after continually voting against the wishes of then-House Speaker John Boehner.
“I have two friends who were put in time out in the Republican conference. Walter Jones who I would fight for. I’ll fight somebody in the middle of…I would fight a Democrat or a Republican–Oakland Raiders—Pittsburgh and then Steve got put out. Walter didn’t have a committee assignment either –for a different reason, but I just think you know Steve is a good guy as far as I know.”
He added, “I think– as I said to him, you know, once before in his office. I said, “Watch what you said be careful. Because a lot of people walk around with us and they’re trying to find something all the time.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the rest of the Republican leadership do not appear to be changing their minds about King anytime soon since removing him from his committees.
When asked last month at a weekly presser by SiriusXM Patriot if Republicans intend to keep punishing King to support their position when they call for Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee McCarthy responded:
“The action we took with Congressman Steve King was based upon what we heard in our own party saying that is not what this country believes and it’s not what the party of Lincoln stands for. We took action. We didn’t have to take something to the floor. We didn’t have to wait for weeks. We didn’t have to water down our action at all,” he said.
McCarthy said further, “We removed him from every single committee. I think it’s an action that people would celebrate throughout the country. The difference here is that Democratic leadership will not take action when this first happened with Congresswoman Omar.”
King, last month, said most members of his own conference treat him well, but others choose to ignore him now.
“Some of them that look away. I know who they are and they know who they are. They’re the people that have spoken out against me to the press. But none of them came to me and asked me what’s my version of the truth. They just simply decide they’re going to follow the verdict delivered by Kevin McCarthy,” King said.
“That he has chosen to believe Trip Gabriel of the New York Times over me. Even though there’s no time that no colleague that will ever stand up and say that I’ve ever been dishonest with them.”
King spoke at a town hall in Cherokee, Iowa, on Tuesday and responded to an attendee who asked about Christian persecution in the U.S. and he responded by discussing his own circumstances and the suffering of Jesus.