Given the multiple concurrent controversies surrounding members of Congress and alleged bigotry, a report from Politico on some behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Democratic leaders this week strikes me as telling. A few days ago, the House of Representatives voted almost unanimously to rebuke Iowa Republican Steve King for comments that appeared to defend white supremacy and white nationalism. King, who has drifted toward nativism while amassing a rap sheet of inflammatory rhetoric, claims that his quote was misunderstood, eventually voting in favor of the resolution that was targeting him. His protestations have evidently failed to convince many within his own party, whose leaders stripped him of committee assignments and strongly condemned him in public. Nevertheless, a number of Democratic members stated publicly that the chamber’s action against King was not robust enough, demanding that he be formally censured. That did not happen. Why not? It turns out that Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and James Clyburn worked intensely to avoid it. Their reasoning may surprise you:
Dems who want censure Steve King say they’ve been met with resistance from Dem leaders, who fear such a drastic step could hurt their own party
— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) January 16, 2019
House Democratic leaders have quietly rejected a push by rank-and-file members to force a rare and potentially divisive vote on censuring Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), according to multiple Democratic sources. The House moved Wednesday to essentially shelve a grassroots attempt to further punish King for racist remarks that he made to the New York Times this month. If it had succeeded, King could have faced one of the most severe punishments that a lawmaker can receive…behind the scenes, Democratic leaders, led by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), were clear about their opposition, according to multiple Democratic lawmakers and aides. “Leadership has been full-court press on not bringing it up,” one Democratic aide said..Clyburn and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), were warning rank-and-file members that going as far as censure could come back to harm Democrats…Privately, Clyburn also warned that it would divide the caucus, or even put vulnerable Democrats at risk.
(Read more from “Wow: Here’s Why Democratic Leaders Worked Behind the Scenes to Kill a Censure Vote Against Steve King” HERE)