Iowa congressman asks how 'white supremacist' became offensive in US

Iowa congressman asks how 'white supremacist' became offensive in US

Iowa congressman asks how 'white supremacist' became offensive in US

Republican Rep. Steve King - who has always been a target for criticism because of his public comments on race and immigration - rejected Thursday being labeled a white nationalist, following bipartisan outrage for comments he made appearing to lament that white supremacist comments are considered offensive.

Steve King questioned how terms like "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" have become racist - comments that prompted stinging rebukes from his fellow Republicans and even a primary challenger. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"

"What I was really talking about was the continuation of applying labels onto people as freely as they are", King said in the NBC interview Thursday night.

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The conservative lawmaker later put out a statement denying what he said were suggestions in the Times article that he was "an advocate for white nationalism and white supremacy".

"I profoundly believe that America is the greatest tangible expression of these ideals the world has ever seen".

"I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define", King said. "I think it's important that he rejected that kind of evil, because that's what it is, it's evil ideology", he said.

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Additionally, while King's statement Thursday afternoon appears to distinguish a support for Western civilization from a belief in white supremacy, he seemed to lump those ideas together in his quote in the Times.

Ahead of the 2018 midterms, then National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Shivers condemned King's comments as "completely inappropriate", and the campaign arm pulled its support.

Randy Feenstra, a Republican state senator, announced Wednesday that he plans to run against King in 2020. "Donald Trump came to Iowa as a real nonideological candidate", King said.

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King barely survived a challenge from Democrat J.D. Scholten in November, as his race became nationalized amid a series of controversial public comments.

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