Trump says he hasn't been following controversy around Steve King's white supremacy comments

Trump says he hasn't been following controversy around Steve King's white supremacy comments

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE said Monday he hasn't kept up on the controversy surrounding Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingThirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Overnight Energy — Presented by Job Creators Network — House Republican tries to force Green New Deal vote | 'Awkward' hearing to vet Interior nominee and watchdog | House panel approves bill to stop drilling in Arctic refuge Steve King: One 'good side' of climate change could be shrinking deserts MORE's (R-Iowa) comments last week questioning why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were offensive.

"I haven’t been following it. I really haven’t been following it," Trump told reporters outside the White House as he departed for a trip to a farmers convention in New Orleans.

In an interview with The New York Times published last week, King asked how language like "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" became offensive.

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He later sought to distance himself from those comments, saying in a House floor speech that he's not "anti-immigrant."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRepublicans spend more than million at Trump properties The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes MORE (R-Calif.) said Sunday that he would meet with King on Monday to discuss the congressman's remarks and pledged "action will be taken."

King's comments, which prompted backlash from members of both parties, are the latest instance of the nine-term congressman courting controversy with racist remarks or association with far-right figures.

Last year, King backed a white nationalist mayoral candidate in Canada and met with Austria's Freedom Party, a group founded by a former Nazi SS officer and whose leader was involved in neo-Nazi circles.

King tweeted in 2017 that “we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies.” 

Trump has been friendly with King dating back to before his run for the presidency. Trump supported King's reelection bid in 2014, appearing with the congressman at an event in Iowa.

At a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, last October, the president acknowledged King, telling the crowd "he may be the world's most conservative human being."