Iowa GOP chair calls Steve King's rape, incest comments 'outrageous'

Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann criticized Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingWhy the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy MSNBC's Donny Deutsch: 'Pathetic' Republicans who stormed closed hearing are 'boring, nerdy-looking white guys' Overnight Defense: Trump lifts sanctions on Turkey | 'Small number' of troops to remain by Syrian oil fields | Defense official's impeachment testimony delayed five hours after Republicans storm secure room MORE (R-Iowa) after the lawmaker questioned whether there would be “any population of the world left” if not for rape and incest.

“The Republican Party is the party of life — we’re very proud of that,” Kaufmann told Hill.TV during an interview that aired on Friday.

“But in regards to the statements of population and where that population comes from, those comments are outrageous and that they are not reflective of the Republican Party of Iowa,” he added.

The Des Moines Register reported that King made the remark during an event in Urbandale, Iowa while defending anti-abortion legislation he sponsored in Congress that does not have exceptions for rape or incest. 

"What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?" he told the crowd.

King in a tweet has said he was "misquoted."

"#FakeNews strikes again. The Des Moines Register misquoted me. Their misquote was picked up by the AP & others," King claimed

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have condemned King’s remarks.

Many House Republicans, including Rep. Paul MitchellPaul MitchellEd Markey, John Rutherford among victors at charity pumpkin-carving contest Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash House Republicans voice concerns about White House's impeachment messaging MORE (R-Mich.), have also sought to distance themselves from King following his latest remarks, openly expressing support for his main primary challenger.

“I will be openly contributing to his primary opponent and encouraging others to do the same,” Mitchell said. “Enough of his destructive commentary.” Mitchell recently announced his plans to retire from Congress next year.

This is not the first time King has come under fire for controversial remarks.

In an interview with The New York Times in January, sparked backlash after he questioned why terms like “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were considered “offensive.” House Republicans later removed him from the Judiciary and Agriculture committees.

King has also come under fire for supporting white nationalists candidates in Canada and Europe.

But not all Republicans are necessarily writing off King.

When asked if he would support King if he becomes the nominee, Kaufmann responded by saying, "The people of the 4th district are going to have to make a decision on what they think about those comments, the context of those comments."

King represents one of the most conservative districts in Iowa, which swung heavily in favor of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE in the 2016 election.

King already faces two Republican challengers and came close to losing against Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten last November. 

—Tess Bonn