Iowa GOP congressman called out for ‘vile racism’
Sunday on Twitter, Rep. Steve King of Iowa paid tribute to a Dutch politician who opposes immigration and has spoken against Islam. It came as the Dutch prepared for an election for prime minister.
King, who has served in the House since 2003, said Geert Wilders “understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
In an interview Monday on CNN, King said he stood by his remarks. King said, “I meant exactly what I said”
“We need to get our birth rates up or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half a century or a little more,” King said.
King is known for making racially charged commentary. Last year, at the Republican National Convention, King questioned contributions to civilization by nonwhites. In 2013, he described children in the country illegally as having “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
King said his comments aren’t focused on race, but critics disagreed.
A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on GOP leadership to condemn King’s statements.
“Republican congressman Steve King’s vile racism has no place in decent society, much less in the U.S. Congress,” said spokesman Drew Hammill. “But once again, disgusting hatred has been met with deafening silence from Speaker (Paul) Ryan.”
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, subsequently responded that Ryan took issue with King’s comments.
“The speaker clearly disagrees and believes America’s long history of inclusiveness is one of its great strengths,” Strong said.
Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, was one of the first GOP leaders to take issue with King’s comments. He was joined Monday by Republican Rep. David Young of Iowa.
“First of all, I do not agree with congressman King’s statement,” Kaufmann said in a press release. “We are a nation of immigrants, and diversity is the strength of any nation and any community.”