U.S. Congressman Steve King of Iowa, who doesn’t shy away from openly sharing his racist views, on Sunday took to Twitter to promote the white nationalist position on immigrants, saying, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
The comment, which many have condemned and the Washington Post characterized as “appear[ing] to have crossed the line,” was part of a tweet praising anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders. It included a political cartoon depicting Wilders with his finger in a dam labeled “Western Civilization” attempting to hold back a green tide of Islam’s crescent moons and stars while bearded men with sabres and suicide vests protest nearby.
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,” King wrote. “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
King’s tweet quickly resonated with white supremacists such as former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who responded: “GOD BLESS STEVE KING!!! #TruthRISING.”
In another tweet Duke adds, “Just in case you were thinking about moving -> sanity reigns supreme in Iowa’s 4th congressional district. #MakeAmericaGreatAgain”
Last September, King tweeted a photo of him and Wilders, along with far-right politician Frauke Petry (who has campaigned against the “Islamization” of Germany), writing the caption: “Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end.”
The header on Wilders’ Twitter profile has an image of his face with the words “STOP ISLAM” written in large, bold font and all caps. Wilders’ views on race and culture are deeply controversial in Europe, and he’s run on a platform pledging to “make the Netherlands ours again.”
In an interview Monday morning with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, King doubled down on his statement. “Of course I meant exactly what I said,” he told Cuomo. “You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else’s babies. You’ve got to keep your birth rate up, and that you need to teach your children your values. In doing so, you can grow your population, you can strengthen your culture, and you can strengthen your way of life.”
King, who said, “I’m a champion for Western civilization,” could not answer directly whether he believed all American immigrants should be viewed equally.
Cuomo asked King, “A Muslim American, an Italian American, a Christian American, a Jewish American, you do realize they are all equal, they are all the same thing? We don’t need babies from one of those groups more than we need them from other groups, do you agree with that?”
King, after being asked the same question again, hesitated, responding that “it depends … they contribute differently to our culture and civilization.”
King’s most recent comments echo statements he made last summer saying white people contributed more to civilization than any other category or “sub-group of people.”
During a live broadcast from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, panelists led by MSNBC moderator Chris Hayes were discussing the racial makeup of the Republican Party and its convention attendees.
Charles Pierce of Esquire magazine noted the party’s lack of diversity, saying those in attendance consisted of “loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people.”
“If you’re really optimistic, you can say that this is the last time that old white people will command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, and its public face,” Pierce said, followed by King’s racist tirade.
“This whole ‘white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” King said. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where have these contributions been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?”
“Than white people?” asked Hayes.
“Than — than Western civilization itself, that’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world,” King continued. “That’s all of Western civilization.”
King’s latest comments drew backlash from Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted a picture of his two Asian sons, saying, “Dear Representative Steve King: These are my two babies. –Representative Ted Lieu.”
Sharing a tweet quoting King from his interview with Cuomo, in which he said, “I’d like to see an America that’s so homogenous that we look a lot the same,” Republican Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tweeted, “Get a clue, @SteveKingIA. Diversity is our strength. All looking alike is such a waste. A travesty. I wanna be me. All others are taken.”
Another Republican congressman from Florida, Carlos Curbelo, who was born to Cuban immigrants, tweeted, “.@SteveKingIA What exactly do you mean? Do I qualify as ‘somebody else’s baby?’ #concernedGOPcolleague.”
The chairman of Iowa’s Republican Party also condemned King, as well as Duke.
“First of all, I do not agree with Congressman King’s statement. We are a nation of immigrants, and diversity is the strength of any nation and any community,” said Jeff Kaufmann in a statement Monday. “Regarding David Duke, his words and sentiments are absolute garbage. He is not welcome in our wonderful state.”