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Ex-Bush ethics chief calls for Steve King expulsion after he posted meme of potential civil war

The Hill logo The Hill 3/18/2019 Justin Wise

Steve King wearing a suit and tie: Ex-Bush ethics chief calls for Steve King expulsion after he posted meme of potential civil war © The Hill Ex-Bush ethics chief calls for Steve King expulsion after he posted meme of potential civil war Richard Painter, the former chief ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush administration, on Monday called for Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to be expelled from the House after he shared a meme that imagines a modern day civil war.

"This is treason," Painter, who switched parties and ran in a Democratic primary for a Minnesota Senate seat last year, tweeted. "Steve King should be expelled from the House immediately."

The forceful condemnation from Painter came just days after King posted a meme featuring an image of what a civil war between Democratic and Republican states may look like.

"Wonder who would win....," King said in a Facebook post on Saturday, followed by a smirking emoji. The post included an image of Democratic-leaning states fighting with GOP-leaning ones.

"Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn't know which bathroom to use," the meme reads, which appears to be a reference to Democrats' support of gender-neutral bathrooms.

It is unclear who produced the original image. King deleted the image from his Facebook account on Monday.

King's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

King posted the meme imagining a modern day civil war the same week Trump said in an interview that things could get "very bad" if his supporters chose to get tough.

Painter, a former Republican, served as the chief ethics lawyer in Bush's administration between 2005 and 2007. He launched a primary challenge against Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) last year, telling The Hill that he felt his positions fell more in line with Democrats.

Painter, who has become a repeated critic of Trump's, ultimately lost the primary in August.

King has faced frequent scrutiny for his rhetoric regarding issues such as immigration. The Iowa lawmaker was stripped of his House committee assignments earlier this year after asking The New York Times when terms such as white nationalist and white supremacist became "offensive."

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