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 TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE said Monday he hasn't kept up on the controversy surrounding Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingHateful words demand stronger response from Congress, President Trump Ex-Bush ethics chief calls for Steve King expulsion after he posted meme of potential civil war Steve King deletes Facebook post asking who would win new US civil war 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 McCarthyOvernight Energy: McConnell tees up vote on Green New Deal | Centrist Dems pitch alternative to plan | House Republican likens Green New Deal to genocide | Coca-Cola reveals it uses 3M tons of plastic every year House GOP lawmaker says Green New Deal is like genocide GOP lawmakers: House leaders already jockeying for leadership contests 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."