Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) told HuffPost in an interview Tuesday that King should resign but that if a measure were introduced to expel King from Congress, he’d vote for it.
“I think he should step down, but if a bill comes up to expel him, I would do that as well,” Espaillat said. “Not only because the comments he made are egregious, unacceptable and racist, but now he has lost the ability to equitably represent his constituency. He has no committees now.”
Republican leadership on Monday stripped King of his committee assignments as punishment for remarks he made to The New York Times last week. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution of disapproval condemning King’s white supremacy.
There are also currently two draft resolutions to officially censure King, which could come to a vote this week. A censure is a formal reprimand, one step below an expulsion. The last censure in the House occurred in 2010.
Although many Democrats and Republicans have said King should resign or signaled support for censuring him, they have largely stopped short of calling for his expulsion. It takes a two-thirds majority to expel someone from the House.
Espaillat said he would support censuring King but doesn’t think such a measure goes far enough.
“He hasn’t shown any contrition,” the congressman said. “He’s still lurking around chambers.”
King, re-elected to a ninth term in November, has long spewed white nationalist rhetoric with little to no rebuke from his fellow Republicans. He has repeatedly demeaned Latinos and Muslims, promoted white nationalists and neo-Nazis on Twitter, and once endorsed a white supremacist candidate for mayor of Toronto. HuffPost also unearthed an interview he gave to an Austrian publication affiliated with Europe’s neo-fascist “identitarian” movement.
But it wasn’t until last week’s New York Times article that Republicans started to abandon King. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King, 69, told the newspaper. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
Espaillat, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the first Dominican-American to serve in Congress, said King’s remarks are beneath the dignity of Congress, a legislative body that should “respect and represent differences.”
“I wouldn’t want him voting next to me,” he said of King.