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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 TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE said Monday he hasn't kept up on the controversy surrounding Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingRep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance In Marjorie Taylor Greene, a glimpse of the future House votes to kick Greene off committees over embrace of conspiracy theories 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 McCarthyWatch live: McCarthy holds press briefing Biden vows to work with Congress to 'refine' voting rights bill House passes voting rights and elections reform bill 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."