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Republican Reps. Steve King and Liz Cheney. Photos by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call and Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Republican conference chair Liz Cheney condemned remarks made by her GOP colleague Steve King Thursday as "abhorrent" and "racist," and said they "should have no place in our national discourse."

The backdrop: In a New York Times article about his hard-line views on immigration, King was quoted as saying, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” After the article was published, King issued a statement rejecting the notion that he's a racist, claiming that he considers himself "simply a nationalist" and an advocate for Western values.

The big picture: The Iowa congressman has faced scrutiny in the past over inflammatory remarks he's made about race and immigration. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was the first Republican leader to come out against King when he denounced his racist rhetoric in October. King is now facing a primary challenge from Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra.

Go deeper

Updated 57 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirt ban

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on t-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirts, citing ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.