Ernst declines to ask for King to resign after 'babies' tweet
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Overnight Defense: Trump aide's comment mocking McCain sparks outrage | Haspel gets another 'no' vote | Pompeo floats North Korea aid for denuclearization Overnight Energy: Poll finds majority oppose Trump offshore drilling plan | Senators say Trump endorsed ethanol deal | Automaker group wants to keep increasing efficiency standards MORE (R-Iowa) said this week that she didn't condone Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingKing introduces bill that could jail sanctuary officials Pet breeding laws under threat from House farm bill Don’t let the farm bill overrule state food laws MORE's (R-Iowa) controversial comments on immigration, but she wouldn't call for his resignation, Politico reported.

At a town hall meeting in their home state on Friday, Ernst said she would not ask for King to step down, despite calls by many in the audience for her to do so, according to the report.

"I do not ask for [his resignation], I will not ask for that, I do not condone his language. But his voters will make that determination,” she said, according to Politico. “We don’t condone that language, we try to speak respectfully. We all need to act with a level of respect."

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King wrote on Twitter earlier this week that "we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies," apparently referring to immigrants. In that same tweet, the Iowa representative gave a nod to Geert Wilders, a far-right Dutch politician known for his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views.

King doubled down on his comments on a subsequent appearance on CNN, saying he wanted a more "homogenous" U.S. population. Since then, King has intermittently tweeted and commented about the need to increase the birth rate in the U.S. to "Make Western Civilization Great Again," according to one post.

The outspoken Iowa lawmaker claimed in an interview with The Hill that some of his colleagues were "patting me on the back" over his comments, which a handful of House Republicans condemned.