Earlier on Tuesday, McCarthy spoke to a group of House Republicans and laid out the reasoning for barring King from committee work. King was not present. Just one member, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, defended King in the meeting.

The pressure had been building for years to act on King, several GOP lawmakers insisted, although it came to a head after the party suffered its worst electoral defeat in four decades.

“One time, something might be taken out of context, maybe even two times,” Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) said. “The thing that’s most concerning is that this keeps coming up. I think that’s why, at this juncture, the leadership felt like they needed to do something, to say they wanted to distance themselves, to say this isn’t what Republicans stand for.”

“It was just time to say, ‘Enough is enough,'” added Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). “People had issued statements before [criticizing King]. The behavior really hadn’t changed. Words ran out of force, and we had to take a forceful action. So we did.”