WASHINGTON — After criticism from both sides of the aisle for his controversial remarks, Rep. Steve King reaffirmed Friday that he rejects both white nationalism and white supremacy.
“I reject those labels and the evil ideology they define,” King (R-Iowa) said in a speech on the House floor while reading from a prepared statement that was released on Thursday.
He added: “Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of six million innocent Jewish lives.”
King has served in Congress since 2003 and is an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration and multiculturalism. He is no stranger to controversy.
Last year King came under fire after tweeting his support for far-right Dutch politician and Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders.
Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies. https://t.co/4nxLipafWO
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) March 12, 2017
King has more recently come under fire for provocative comments he made to The New York Times.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?” King said in an interview that was published on Thursday.
The remarks drew swift bipartisan condemnation.
“Everything about white supremacy and white nationalism goes against who we are as a nation,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement.
He added: “Steve’s language is reckless, wrong, and has no place in our society. The Declaration of Independence states that ‘all men are created equal.’ That is a fact. It is self-evident.”
Prior to McCarthy’s condemnation, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), urged the lower chamber to censure King for the remarks.
The U.S. House of Representatives must censure Rep. Steve King for his racists remarks. These remarks should also be repudiated by Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and all of Rep. King's colleagues. Support for white supremacist ideology should have no place in Congress. https://t.co/MCnIowmBkv
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) January 10, 2019
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who is chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), told The Hill on Thursday that the committee is likely to stay neutral in King’s 2020 primary.
A day earlier Iowa State Sen. Randy Feenstra (R) announced he will challenge King.
King represents Iowa’s fourth congressional district. The district is more than 90 percent white. It includes parts of Sioux City, Ames and Fort Dodge.
King was re-elected by a mere 3.3 percent margin in 2018.