Sen. Tim Scott slams Steve King for his comments on racism
Sen. Tim Scott ripped into fellow Republican Rep. Steve King for questioning why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” are racist — and slammed other GOP lawmakers for staying silent on the Iowa congressman’s comments.
“When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole. They want to be treated with fairness for some perceived slights but refuse to return the favor to those on the other side,” Scott (R-South Carolina) writes in an op-ed for the Washington Post published Friday.
“Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said.”
King caused controversy this week when he responded to charges of racism by telling the New York Times: “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?” he continued.
Scott writes he takes no issue with “Western civilization” on its own — but that anyone who needs the other terms “defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge.”
He cited recent instances of slayings by white supremacists — including the Kentucky man who fatally shot two black people at a supermarket parking lot in October, and the Nazi sympathizer who killed a woman when he drove into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville in 2017 — as “just a sliver of the havoc” they’ve caused in the US over hundreds of years.
“King’s comments are not conservative views but separate views that should be ridiculed at every turn possible. Conservative principles mean equal opportunity for all to succeed, regardless of what you look like or where you are from,” Scott writes.
“It is maddening to see so many folks who believe this and have only good intentions in their hearts tarnished by these radical perspectives.”
Several other Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Steve Scalise, have criticized King’s remarks.
King issued a statement on the Times interview Thursday insisting he is not a white nationalist or a white supremacist.
“It’s true that like the Founding Fathers I am an advocate for Western Civilization’s values, and that I profoundly believe that America is the greatest tangible expression of these ideals the World has ever seen,” he said. “Under any fair political definition, I am simply a Nationalist.”