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 AmashThe five kinds of Republicans who could primary Trump Overnight Defense: Military won't lift transgender ban until Trump sends directions | House passes national security spending | Russian sanctions bill heads to Trump Overnight Finance: House passes spending bill with border wall funds | Ryan drops border tax idea | Russia sanctions bill goes to Trump's desk | Dems grill bank regulator picks 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 TrumpAssange meets U.S. congressman, vows to prove Russia did not leak him documents A history lesson on the Confederacy for President Trump GOP senator: Trump hasn't 'changed much' since campaign 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."