Rep. Steve King was defiant in an interview with Iowa public television this week, insisting he won’t apologize for the racist remarks and actions that cost him all of his committee assignments and endangered his reelection.
“I have nothing to apologize for,” King told a roundtable of reporters on Iowa Public Television in a Thursday taping.
While King disavowed white nationalism, he also argued that term has been “weaponized by the left” to mean racism, but did not provide his own definition of the term.
King repeated his frequent defense of the phrase “Western Civilization.” King has often voiced the far-right theory that immigration and diversity will lead to a collapse of Western civilization. Advocacy groups dedicated to rooting out hate speech say “Western civilization” used in that context is a euphemism for whites.
King also blamed the recent tumult on a conspiracy between the New York Times, the Washington Post and former National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Stivers.
“We’ve seen what the news media has done. President Trump has labeled the New York Times a dishonest entity. I think that’s been well held up, not only the New York Times but a number of other places,” King said.
“So if I look back through this, it all starts with a formerly credible organization that launches this and then we have this phenomenon that America is not ready for, this cyberbullying that unleashes a firestorm,” King continued.
King has faced severe scrutiny since the 4th District Republican was quoted in the New York Times in January as having said, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
That followed an October story in the Washington Post that King met with a far-right party with ties to Nazis on a trip to Austria, and granted an interview to a party news outlet in which he bemoaned cultural and racial diversity.
“The story is false, but that built something that then Steve Stivers capitalized on just a week before the election,” King said Thursday.
Both papers have defended their reporting.
King also sought to normalize his denigration of immigrants by spotlighting the similarities between his stance on the issue of immigration and that of President Donald Trump.
“Donald Trump will be on the ballot. He and I are four-square on the same agenda here. I’m the guy that actually created the immigration policy that helped launch him into the presidency, and I support him on the wall and every other piece of his agenda,” King said.
“The Toronto mayor has been described as white nationalist, well so has the president,” King said, referring to his endorsement of Faith Goldy.
King also confirmed he will run for re-election Thursday despite the fact the embattled incumbent will face three primary challengers.
In past cycles, King has easily secured re-election. But his 18-point lead over Democrat J.D. Scholten weeks before the election narrowed to a 3-point margin of victory amid new reports of racist statements and sympathies with white supremacists.
Watch: Steve King explodes when pressed about white supremacist comments