Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) asked how phrases like “white supremacist” are considered offensive in a New York Times interview published Thursday, continuing his far-right rhetoric that has led many to label him as racist.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?” King asked the Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
In a Twitter post responding to the Times article, King said while he identifies as “simply a Nationalist,” he is not a white nationalist nor a white supremacist.
“I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define,” wrote King. “One of my most strongly held beliefs is that we are all created in God’s image and that human life is sacred in all its forms.”
While King has long maintained he is not a racist, he once endorsed a white nationalist for Toronto mayor and lamented “the Great Replacement”—the idea that a nation’s families are being replaced by immigrants—in an interview with an Austrian publication.
“These people walking into Europe by ethnic migration, 80% are young men. They are somebody else’s babies. They have been already raised in the culture of another country,” King told Unzensuriert in September 2018.
“I have said that diversity is not a strength,” he continued. “What does this diversity bring that we don’t already have? Mexican food, Chinese food, those things, well, that’s fine, but what does it bring that we don’t have that is worth the price? We have a lot of diversity within the U.S. already.”
King’s rhetoric lost him the support of national GOP leaders and a handful of corporate sponsors in the last midterm elections. He’s currently serving his ninth term in Congress.