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GOP rep to Steve King: 'I’m an American no less than you are’

GOP rep to Steve King: 'I’m an American no less than you are’
© Greg Nash

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) continued to take flak from fellow Republicans Monday, with Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashOvernight Defense: House votes to renew surveillance program | More drones, troops headed to Afghanistan | Former officers urge lawmakers to curb Trump's nuclear powers Overnight Tech: House votes to reauthorize surveillance powers | Twitter on defensive after Project Veritas video | Senate panel to hold hearing on bitcoin Overnight Cybersecurity: House votes to renew NSA spying | Trump tweets spark confusion | Signs Russian hackers are targeting Olympics | Bannon expected to appear before House Intel panel MORE (R-Mich.) challenging King's controversial tweet by asking whether his immigrant parents reduce his status as an American.

King provoked a firestorm of criticism late Sunday by tweeting positively about far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, writing that "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." 

Amash, whose parents both immigrated from the Middle East, asked on Twitter whether their heritage made him "somebody else's baby."

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King’s tweet follows reports that Wilders, who has been called the “Dutch Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE,” is in second place before the Netherlands’ national election for its next prime minister.

Social media users quickly began debating King’s remarks, with some seeing them as racially tinged and supportive of white nationalism.

King on Monday defended his comments, insisting during a CNN interview that “I meant exactly what I said."

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

“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.”

Multiple Republicans have rejected King’s assertions since Sunday, with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) telling her colleague to “get a clue” Monday.

“Diversity is our strength,” said Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban-American elected to Congress. "All looking alike is such a waste. A travesty. I wanna be me. All others are taken."