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Top House Dem: 'Conservatism Is Something Totally Different' Than Steve King's White Supremacy Remarks

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) walks through Statuary Hall in the Capitol on Jan. 4, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) voted Tuesday for the resolution of disapproval introduced by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) in response to the nine-term congressman’s comments on white supremacy.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King told the New York Times last week. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Clyburn’s resolution noted the FBI definitions of white supremacist and white nationalist and states that both ideologies “are contrary to the ideals of the United States of America, which was established according to the principle stated in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, a principle that was updated in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, to include all people.”

“While our country has often fallen short of these ideals, patriotic Americans have sought to form a more perfect Union by rejecting White nationalism and White supremacy, embracing inclusive patriotism, and welcoming immigrants from across the globe who have continuously enriched our Nation,” the resolution added, stressing that “the House of Representatives once again rejects White nationalism and White supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”

The only vote against the resolution was Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), who introduced a censure resolution against King as a harsher punishment.

Clyburn told CNN after the vote that going further than his resolution “would not yield the number of votes that I wanted to see there” condemning white supremacy and white nationalism.

Clyburn further opined that what “we need to really start doing is differentiating between conservatism and this reactionary stuff that we see today.”

“My father was as conservative as anybody I’ve ever met but he is not racist. He was not reactionary. He was a great patriot. And for people to say things that are against the value of system that we’re trying to further in this great country of ours and say if you oppose to them talking about white supremacists, then you are not conservative, that’s not true at all. I respect and have a great deal of admiration for people who I consider to be conservative,” the No. 3 House Dem said.

“But the conservatism is something totally different from the stuff that he is saying,” Clyburn said of King.

“I wouldn’t call those people in Charlottesville conservative. There’s something else, and some of them should start paying the price for being something else.”