Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstDemocrat Mike Franken launches challenge to Grassley in Iowa Trump heads to Iowa as 2024 chatter grows Photos of the Week: Manchin, California oil spill and a podium dog MORE (R-Iowa) said this week that she didn't condone Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingGOP brawls over Trump on eve of first Jan. 6 hearing Pence to visit Iowa to headline event for congressman Former Steve King challenger on rural voters in GOP states: 'They hate Democrats' 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."
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.