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Sen. Tim Scott (L) and Rep. Steve King (R). Photos: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call and Alex Wong via Getty Images

Republican Sen. Tim Scott criticized the GOP's response to racism in a Washington Post op-ed, specifically calling out Republican officials' silence on Rep. Steve King’s comments in a New York Times article that questioned why terms like "white supremacist" are considered offensive.

What he's saying: "Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said. ... When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole."

  • "Immigration is the perfect example, in which somehow our affection for the rule of law has become conflated with a perceived racism against brown and black people."
  • "King’s comments are not conservative views but separate views that should be ridiculed at every turn possible."

The big picture: Some prominent Republicans have spoken out against King, including GOP conference chair Liz Cheney, who tweeted that the comments were "abhorrent" and "racist." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer and Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash have denounced King's comments as well.

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

Trump pardons Michael Flynn

President Trump with Michael Flynn in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with a former Russian ambassador.

Why it matters: It is the first of multiple pardons expected in the coming weeks, as Axios scooped Tuesday night.