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Iowa Sen. Ernst expresses frustration with King comments

January 31, 2019 GMT
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, center, joined from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters following their weekly strategy meeting, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. With the government funded for three weeks, it's up to a group of House and Senate negotiators to avoid another closure. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, center, joined from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters following their weekly strategy meeting, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. With the government funded for three weeks, it's up to a group of House and Senate negotiators to avoid another closure. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican Sen. Joni Ernst is expressing frustration with Iowa Congressman Steve King’s comments about immigration and white supremacy.

Ernst told Iowa reporters Thursday that she shouldn’t have to be “spending precious time talking about white supremacy and comments by a member of our delegation.”

Ernst says “we really do need to start focusing on our speech and watching our tone.” She says everyone would be better off focusing on the issues and not on religious or ethnic differences.

King, a nine-term House member, caused an uproar after he was quoted in the New York Times stating, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

King, a Republican, claims his comments were taken out of context.

The House rebuked him and Republicans stripped him of committee assignments.