King defends controversial tweet: 'I meant exactly what I said'

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Monday defended a weekend tweet endorsing the views of a far-right Dutch politician. 

“Well, of course I meant exactly what I said,” King told CNN’s “New Day."

 

 

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King in a tweet praised Geert Wilders, including a cartoon depicting Wilders plugging a hole in a wall that reads “Western civilization.”

“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” the congressman wrote.

“It’s a clear message," King said on Monday. "We need to get our birth rates up or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half century or a little more. And Geert Wilders knows that and that’s part of his campaign and part of his agenda." 

King went on to criticize illegal immigration to the United States and immigrants who don’t “assimilate into the American culture.”

“Living in enclaves, refusing to assimilate into the American culture and civilization. Some embrace it, yes. But many are two and three generations living in enclaves that are pushing back now and resisting against the assimilation,” he said.

King also emphasized his view that “Western civilization” is “a superior civilization.”

"I'd like to see an America that's just so homogenous that we look a lot the same, from that perspective,” he said.

The congressman noted that he made the argument for Western civilization during the Republican National Convention in July.

“This is an effort on the left, I think, to break down the American civilization, the American culture, and turn it into something entirely different,” King said Monday. “I’m a champion for Western civilization and, yes, our English language is a big part of it. It’s a carrier of freedom.”

Appearing on Fox News Monday night with Tucker Carlson, King explained that he would redo his tweet if he could to focus on assimilating immigrants.

"What I should have done, Tucker, if I had more characters in that tweet, is just added that, 'you can't rebuild our civilization with somebody else's babies unless we adopt them,'" he said on "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

"It was characterized by the left as having a race component to it," King added of his original message.

"You can look down through the words and the language and there's nothing in my statement that references race in any way. I do reference culture and civilization, and that's what we've got to restore, which is Western civilization for the world."

This report was updated at 11 p.m.