“Republican Congressman Steve King’s vile racism has no place in decent society, much less in the U.S. Congress,” Drew Hammill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman said in a statement. “But once again, disgusting hatred has been met with deafening silence from Speaker [Paul D.] Ryan.”
King on Sunday tweeted support of Dutch nationalist politician Geert Wilders, whose nationalist Party for Freedom had been gaining traction in the Netherlands, though has lagged a bit recently.
“We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” King tweeted, saying that Wilders “understands” that culture and demographics are destiny.
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 defended the comments on CNN on Monday saying and he wanted America be “so homogeneous that we look a lot the same” and wanted less of an emphasis on race.
Democratic criticism of the Iowa congressman has piled up since his initial tweet on Sunday then his comments in defending the remark on Monday.
Rep. John Lewis said the kind of sentiments that King voiced “have given rise to some of the worst atrocities in human history.”
These ideas have given rise to some of the worst atrocities in human history, and they must be condemned. https://t.co/r53locW5Zf— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) March 13, 2017
Called the “Dutch Donald Trump" by some, Wilders has been considered wildly Islamophobic, tweeting in January his hope for 2017 was “No More Islam.” He has also previously said “I don’t hate Muslims. I hate Islam.”
King has previously met with Wilders and has invited him as a guest speaker in the past. He has also previously met with Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front, who is now a leading candidate to be that country’s president.
Steve King (@SteveKingIA) March 13, 2015
Steve King (@SteveKingIA) February 13, 2017
King’s tweet was praised by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and retweeted by white nationalist Richard Spencer.
One of the few Republican members of Congress to criticize him was Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla. Curbelo, whose parents were from Cuba, asked “Do I qualify as ‘somebody else’s baby?’”.
Carlos Curbelo (@carloslcurbelo) March 13, 2017
After King’s interview on CNN, Curbelo tweeted he was still not sure if he qualified as “somebody else's baby" before saying "let me know."
Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba, also criticized King's remarks, telling him to “get a clue.”
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) March 13, 2017
California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, who was born in Taiwan, tweeted a photo of his two children.
Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 12, 2017
Kim Weaver, a Democrat who previously ran against King and lost, tweeted that she was willing to challenge King again if she could raise enough money to do so.
895 donations TODAY, total of $19k. Heading to bed now. $25k, will be 25% of the way to my Sept goal. THANK YOU!— Kim Weaver (@KimWeaverIA) March 13, 2017
Later in the day, Weaver tweeted she had received 895 donations that day for a total of $19,000.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose wife Columba was born in Mexico also criticized the remarks.
Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, also criticized King’s remarks and said Duke “is not welcome in our wonderful state.”
“We are a nation of immigrants, and diversity is the strength of any nation and any community,” Kaufmann said.